All residential landlords in the UK must now conduct detailed ‘right to rent’ checks when granting new tenancy agreements.
The checks, part of a crackdown on illegal immigrants, will require landlords to report tenants without the right paperwork to the Home Office. Failure to do so could leave landlords facing a fine of up to £3,000.
All landlords will be required to make ‘right to rent’ checks 28 days before the start of any new tenancy. Landlords will be required to:
- Establish who will live at the property;
- Obtain a tenant’s original acceptable documents;
- Check the documents with the tenant present;
- Copy and keep the copied documents on file and record the date of the check.
These checks must be conducted before the tenancy begins and again when appropriate, for example on the expiry of a tenant’s visa.
Antonia Torr, Head of Immigration Services at law firm Howard Kennedy, said: “Due to the fact that landlords will now have to regularly monitor the immigration status of their tenants, it is arguable that existing tenancies – those in place prior to 1 February 2016 – are also caught by this new piece of legislation.
“Should a check reveal that the tenant does not have the right to live in the UK the landlord must report this to the Home Office immediately.
“The landlord can then choose to evict that tenant or await further instructions from the Home Office, as the Home Office does have the power to grant temporary permission to rent.”
The regulations include some exemptions, including social housing, hostels, refuges and student accommodation.