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Right to Rent

Mandatory Right to Rent Checks

By law, landlords and letting agents are required to check that all residential tenants have the Right to Rent in the England.

The Immigration Act 2014 introduced a requirement for residential landlords to conduct checks on new adult tenants and occupiers to ensure that they have the right to reside in the UK.

Essentially, a person has the right to rent if they are a British citizen or an EEA or Swiss national or if the person has leave to remain in the UK. Other people are disqualified from renting property in the UK.

The Implications for Landlords

Landlords must not allow properties to be occupied by people who are disqualified from renting. Landlords can be fined up to £3,000 for breaching this rule. However, landlords will not be fined if they can demonstrate that they have carried out appropriate checks on their tenants’ immigration status. Landlords may also avoid liability by appointing a letting agent to carry out the checks. The appointment must be made in writing.

What checks are required?

The checks are similar to the “right to work” checks that employers are required to undertake. The Home Office right to rent tool can be found at the bottom of this page. There is also a User Guide available and a more detailed Code of Practice on our website. For more complex cases, a check can be requested from the Home Office’s Landlords Checking Service by submitting an online form. Landlords must retain copies of the tenant’s documents for the duration of the tenancy and for one year after. The information must be kept securely and in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.

Implications for Letting Agents

As mentioned above, if a landlord uses a letting agent to negotiate the letting, and the agent is expressly responsible (under a written agreement) for carrying out the checks, the responsibility for carrying out checks and paying any fine falls on the agent rather than the landlord. Our Residential Lettings Agency Terms and Conditions already include a clause making the agent liable for carrying out right to rent checks if they apply to the area in which the property is situated.

What is it for?

  • The law is designed to make it harder for illegal migrants to rent property in the UK by giving landlords new eviction powers
  • To make it a criminal offences for landlords and lettings agents who deliberately and repeatedly let properties to illegal migrants.
  • Guilty parties face a fine and/or imprisonment for failure to comply

Rights to Rent checks are cited as top cause of stress for a third of landlords in today’s market

According to a new report, Rights to Rent is causing landlords huge stress and worry, especially in areas of the UK with a high penetration of immigrants.

The study, shows that Rights to Rent is the number one cause of stress for over a third of BTL landlords, ahead of dealing with tax and inland revenue, raising finance, handling tenant complaints and void periods.

Only rent arrears and sorting out property repairs are rated as more stressful than the new immigration checks.

Landlords in areas with highest level of immigration like London and the South East, the West Midlands, the East of England, and the North West are suffering the most under the new legislation. What’s more, landlords are concerned that they are paying over the odds for all the reference checks that they now must make, to ensure compliance.

Research from the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) shows that in February 2016, when the new Right to Rent came into force, a staggering 90% of landlords in England and Wales had received no information from the government on their legal duties under the new rules.

The research also found that 72% of landlords did not understand their obligations under Right to Rent and 44% will only rent to people who have documents that are familiar to them. 

Prove your right to rent online

You'll need your date of birth and details of one of the following: your biometric residence permit. your biometric residence card. your passport or national identity card.

Who is exempt from right to rent checks?

Hostels and refuges are only exempt if the accommodation is not self-contained and is managed by a public authority, housing association, voluntary organisation or charity. Checks are not required for long leases (21 years or more) or agreements that grant a right of occupation of seven years or more.

What is the right to rent share code?

A share code is a 9 character code generated through the Home Office online service which is valid for 90 days and can be used as many times within that period. Renters can provide this share code with their prospective agents/ landlords alongside their date of birth in order for a right to rent check to be completed. If you are British Passport Holder or Norther Ireland Passport Holder you don’t need share code in order to rent a property in UK simply give a copy of your passport and it should be sufficient enough for the landlord / managing agent to comply with law and you should be fine with requirement to clear the check.

If you have been told you can view your immigration status online you can use this service to: get a 'share code' to prove your status to others, for example employers. update personal details in your UK Visas and Immigration ( UKVI ) account, for example your passport number or email address.

For more details and information on how to prove your Right to Rent, visit: Prove Your Right to Rent in England

If you have any further queries, please feel free to contact Property Hub on 0208 459 3333 or info@propertyhubltd.com.

 

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