Right to rent checklist: landlords and agents
On 1 February 2016 the parts of the Immigration Act 2014 dealing with a 'right to rent' came into force in England and Wales.
Under the scheme, landlords must not authorise a person to occupy premises unless they have a “right to rent”. You can be fined for breaking the law, but you will have a defence if you take proper steps to check the identity and immigration status of people authorised to live at your property.
You can delegate responsibility to an agent (or a tenant that you know will sublet, for example a corporate tenant) but you must do this in a written agreement. Dutton Gregory can provide template copies of the agreement that must be used in the above circumstances which are available for £50 plus VAT per document. Please contact email@example.com for further information.
In most cases these simple steps will help you comply with your obligations:
- Which adults (aged 18 or over) will be living at the property as their only or main home? Please note that if there are students in the property who will be studying away from home then the Right to Rent checks do not need to be carried out on them.
- Check the immigration status of each person 28 days before they move into the property.
For each person:
- Obtain acceptable original documents
- Check each document in the presence of its owner
- Copy each document and date it
- Store the documents securely
During the tenancy:
- Diarise a re-check for time-limited documents or children turning 18
- Re-check and report to the Home Office if necessary. The recheck will need to be done when the time-limited document expires or at 12 months, whichever is the latter.
At the end of the tenancy
- Keep documents for a further 12 months
Detailed information and guidance is available on the Home Office website and the Home Office are operating a helpline for more specific queries about the Right to Rent checks. The helpline number is 0300 069 9799.
Terms of Business and Tenancy Agreements will likely need to be amended to ensure that all parties are aware of their roles and duties under the Immigration Act. Dutton Gregory have drafted clauses to be inserted into Terms of Business and Tenancy Agreements which make it clear who is responsible for carrying out checks and when and also request that the tenant proactively provide the Landlord/Agent with updated time-limited documentation if applicable. These clauses cost £25 plus VAT and can be requested from firstname.lastname@example.org