Property Hawk the landlord's homepage since 2006
Free Tenancy Agreement FREE tenancy agreement
Free Landlord Software FREE landlord software
Home | Property Manager | Free ASTs | Landlord Forms | Mortgages | Insurance | Inventory | Magazine | Landlords Bible | Directory | Forum | Training | News / Blog |

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Right to Rent checks start Feb 1st

Naively, I still clung to a 'slither of hope' that the Government might decide to back-track on their Right to Rent checks policy, but no ...

The Home Office announced yesterday -

"from 1 February 2016, all private landlords in England will have to check new tenants have the right to be in the UK before renting out their property."

The new law also includes anyone who sub-lets or takes lodgers into their home.

The Immigration Minister James Brokenshire said:

"Right to rent checks are quick and simple, and many responsible landlords already do them as a matter of routine. We are providing landlords in England with all the advice and support they need before the checks go live on 1 February 2016.

The new rules are part of the Immigration Act 2014 which introduced measures to reform the immigration system. Right to rent is about deterring those who are illegally resident from remaining in the UK. Those with a legitimate right to be here will be able to prove this easily and will not be adversely affected.

The government’s new Immigration Bill builds on the reforms in last year’s Act, making it harder for people to live and work in the UK illegally. The Bill proposes new measures to make it easier for landlords to evict illegal tenants as well as a new criminal offence targeted at unscrupulous landlords who repeatedly fail to carry out right to rent checks.

The phased introduction of right to rent, starting in the West Midlands, was to allow time to assess how the measures work in practice and to carry out an evaluation, which has also been published today. An expert panel, including the Equality and Human Rights Commission, as well as representatives of landlords and letting agents, local authorities, and Crisis (the homelessness charity) has worked with the government on the implementation and evaluation of the scheme.

Under right to rent, landlords should check identity documents for all new tenants and take copies. The scheme has been designed to make it straightforward for people to give evidence of their right to rent and a range of commonly available documents can be used."

So put simply, from the 1st of February, landlords will legally be required to see the original copy of one of the following documents, as well as making a copy for their records, that they then must retain for a minimum period of one year -
  • UK passport;
  • EEA passport or identity card;
  • permanent residence card or travel document showing indefinite leave to remain;
  • Home Office immigration status document; or
  • certificate of registration or naturalisation as a British citizen.

To correctly check a prospective tenant's documentation, a landlord needs to confirm -
  • the documents are the originals.
  • the dates on the documentation gives the tenant the right to stay in the UK.
  • any photos on the documents actually looks like the tenant.
  • any dates of birth correspond to other documents and match the appearance of the tenant.
  • documents don't appear to have been altered.
  • names correspond to any other supporting documents. 

If a landlord is found to have not carried out the correct checks the are liable to a fine of up to £3,000.

So, put on your uniforms, landlords are now part of the second tier border control...


Chris said...

Seems pretty simple, apart from what happens if they haven't got any of these documents. Particularly a passport as these are very expensive to obtain and out of tenants reach if they are on benefits. Most of the other documents sound quite difficult to obtain.

elise said...

Disgusting policy by a government with a disgraceful record on accepting true refugees into Britain - no wonder Cameron had to do another U-turn....

DaveInSomerset said...

So I presume we have to ask ALL prospective tenants for these documents, otherwise we could be accused of racism? I live in the West Country where lots of people don't have passports because they have never left the county, let alone the country. What evidence would I need to collect?

Anonymous said...

How am I supposed to tell a real from a good fake?

Anonymous said...

This won't matter to many absent landlords in the West Midlands, as long as the tenant pays their monthly rent, they couldn't care less who they rent to. If they are illegals, that makes it all the better, as they will threaten to make them homeless and report them if they don't pay or tell.

Considering the Border Agency is a not-fit-for-purpose Agency, whose open border policy is well known, it is interesting that they have transferred the job to landords, in the vain hope that they will do far better.

Anonymous said...

@DaveinSomerset - Offer a tray with a glass of Wilkins and a glass of Magners. If they take the Wilkins, you're alright. If they go for the Magners, further checks required ....