‘Right to Rent’ Check
Under the Immigration Act 2014, landlords will be required to check the right of prospective tenants to be in the UK before letting a property to them. The rules are being piloted from 1 December 2014 in Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton for tenancy agreements starting on or after 1 December. If the pilot is successful then the rules will be implemented in the rest of the UK over the course of 2015.
Right to Rent
Under the Act, a landlord may only rent property to an adult under a residential tenancy agreement if the adult is a British citizen, a EEA or Swiss national, or has a “right to rent” in the UK. “Right to rent” in the UK means that the individual is in the UK lawfully, in accordance with immigration laws.
For tenants with a time limited right to rent, i.e. tenants other than British citizens, EEA or Swiss nationals, landlords are required to make follow up checks. Where the tenant fails the follow up check a report is required to the Home Office as soon as practicable.
The scheme does not apply to the following:
- Holiday properties such as hotels or holiday lets. Landlords should be careful over long term letting or where the property is used as a home, then the tenants right to rent should be checked. As a guide, if the tenant rents for over 3 months continuously, then a check should be made.
- Children under the age of 18 are excluded from the check.
- Accommodation arranged by local authorities is also exempt.
There are a number of other exemptions including letting to family members, students and care home residents.
All adults living at the property must be checked. Breaching these provisions may lead to a civil penalty of up to £3,000. In order to prove compliance with the requirements, landlords should obtain and keep copies of all passports or biometric residence permits of all adults living at the property or reasons why a check was not considered necessary.
If you would like any further information or advice in connection with this, please contact our Tax Director, Jenny Marks.