All you need to know about Right to Rent

Posted by Mark Lloyd, Property Mastery Academy on 17 June 2019 | Comments

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At present, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to vet their tenants to check they have the legal right to rent in the UK under a Government scheme.

Here we take a look at the details of what this entails for landlords.

Right to rent

What is Right to Rent?

Right to Rent is legislation introduced by the Government as part of The Immigration Act 2014 to clamp down on illegal migrants.

It places responsibility with landlords to check if their tenants have the legal right to rent in the UK.

Who does it apply to?

Right to Rent applies to all tenancies that started on or after 1 February 2016 and checks must be made in the 28 days before a new tenancy begins.

The checks apply to every tenant over the age 18 even if they’re not named in the tenancy agreement. The checks must be made for every type of tenancy agreement.

Can my letting agent take care of it?

If you use an agent to let your property, they will usually take on the job of Right to Rent checks. However, this must be agreed with your letting agent in writing, or you may find you could still be held responsible.

Who has the right to rent?

The following have unlimited Right to Rent: British citizens, EEA (European Economic Area) nationals or Swiss nationals. In addition, people who have the right of abode in the UK, have been granted indefinite leave to remain, or have no time limit on their stay in the UK also have unlimited Right to Rent.

Time-limited Right to Rent applies to anyone who is allowed to enter or stay in the UK for a limited period of time. Time-limited right to rent covers people that are permitted to enter or remain in the UK as a result of Acts of Parliament, European Union Treaties and Immigration Regulation.

Who doesn’t have the right to rent?

Basically, anyone that requires, and does not have, permission to be in the UK. You cannot offer a tenancy to anyone in this position.

If you do let your property to someone who doesn’t have the right to be the UK, and you’re unable to prove you carried out the correct checks, you could end up with a fine of up to £3,000.

How do I make a Right to Rent check?

This Home Office: Right to Rent Document Checks: User Guide will lead you through the process.

The main points are to check the tenants will be using your property as their main residence. Then look at documents such as passport or driving license and birth certificate. If the tenant is time-limited, check their residence card, visa and/or immigration status.

All documents should be checked in the presence of the tenant. You should record the date you made the check and keep copies of the documents presented for at least 12 months after the tenancy ends.

What should I do if I find a tenant doesn’t have the Right to Rent?

In the case of a tenant not having the appropriate documentation, you should make a report to the Home Office.

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