As of February 1st letting agents and landlords will be legally required to conduct Right to Rent checks on all tenants aged 18 and over for English tenancy agreements.
Under the new rules, the landlord or letting agent must meet and carry out immigration checks on every adult occupant of the property, even if they are not named on the tenancy agreement. The same requirements will apply to lodgers and some holiday lets.
The act makes it a civil offence, carrying a penalty of up to £3,000, to let a property to someone (either the named tenant or any adults occupying the property with them) who the landlord knows, or has reasonable cause to believe does not have the Right to Rent. Once passed into law, the Immigration Bill 2015 will allow for a criminal penalty of up to five years in prison for landlords found in breach of the legislation.
Lisa Simon, head of lettings at Carter Jonas has highlighted that agents will need to start making the checks from 3rd Jan 2016. She warns: “This is the start of the 28 day period leading up to February 1, as all checks must be completed in the 28 day period before the tenancy comes into effect”.
Landlords and their letting agents will be required to keep records of the checks (in a manner that complies with the Data Protection Act 1998) for the duration of the tenancy and for at least one year afterwards. According to the government’s code of practice, documents proving a tenant’s right to rent should be requested from all potential tenants to ensure due diligence and avoid any indirect discrimination.
Summary from Dwellworks
The team at Dwellworks’ UK office has been following this legislation closely to ensure that we continue to provide a smooth transition for employees in the process of relocating to the UK. Having taken advice we have been able to summarise the implications of the changes as follows:
- ALL occupants over the age of 18 (whether tenants/on the lease or not) will need to present the following documents IN PERSON to the landlord or agent:
– Visa/immigration confirmation – Original Documents (Biometric Residents Permits allowed)
- No keys will be handed over until this information has been checked and signed off by the appropriate party.