The Government has announced that ‘Right to Rent’ will be rolled out across England and Wales on 1st February 2016.
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
If you manage your own properties you may be wondering how this affects you. If you use a letting agent you may want to check that they are covering this requirement for you. We are putting in place procedures to carry out this check for our clients should they nominate us to. So we thought we would share with you how the answers to some common questions. Whilst things might change – before or after implementation – time is running out. Once you start marketing a property that is due to become vacant after February 1st you need to know how to carry out these checks. So don’t leave it till January 31st…
1. WHAT IS RIGHT TO RENT AND DOES IT AFFECT ME?
Right to Rent was introduced in the Immigration Act 2014 and it is a requirement for landlords to check tenants’ immigration status before letting a property to them. The Immigration Act 2014 restricts illegal immigrants access to other services too. It affects all private residential properties for all people aged 18 or over (including house guests, lodgers and sub-tenants) who will use the property as their main home. There are some exceptions such as some types of social housing.
2. WHEN AND WHERE WILL I CARRY OUT THE CHECK?
The checks should be carried out at least 28 days before the start of a tenancy and must be done in the presence of the tenant (the tenant can be present in person or via a video link) and the original document. You will also need to make a copy of the document and it should be a hardcopy or a scanned and unalterable copy, such as a jpeg or pdf. You then need to keep these copies for 12 months after the end of the tenancy. The copy must be dated either in hard copy and signed or separately on a secure record.
3. WHAT TYPES OF ID WILL I ACCEPT?
There are many different types of ID that can prove a tenants Right to Rent. We won’t list them but the home office has provided a useful guide: CLICK HERE. Look out for any updates to this document.
4. WHAT IF I NEED HELP OR AM UNSURE ABOUT A POTENTIAL TENANT’S RIGHT TO RENT?
Help is available from the Right to Rent helpline – 0300 019 9799. The Prado website is a good resource for checking types of ID and you can contact the Home Office and request a check of immigration status if a home office reference number is available.
5. WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES IF I DON’T COMPLETE THESE CHECKS?
Currently the penalty is up to £3,000 and you can be fined if you rent your property to someone who isn’t allowed to stay in the UK and you can’t show that you checked their right to rent. The penalty depends on the type of accommodation and whether you have been issued with a penalty before.