Since the 1st February 2016 it has been compulsory for private landlords to check that their tenant or lodger can legally rent their property in the UK.
This is a Home Office initiative to make it harder for illegal immigrants to rent accommodation under the Immigration Act of 2014. Please see below guidance regarding the practical implications of this law and what it means for your company and your assignees.
Who will be checked?
- All people aged 18 or over living in the property, whether named in the tenancy agreement or not.
- All personal lease types including Assured Short hold (AST) and non AST tenancies as well as occupiers under corporate leases.
What will be checked?
- Original documents showing the tenant and occupiers right to be in UK. See Right to Rent User Guide for more information on acceptable documents.
- Documents must be valid, genuine and belong to the tenant. The tenant/occupier needs to be physically present for the check.
- The landlord will make and retain copies of the documents along with records of the date checks were made.
When will right to rent be checked?
- Within 28 days before the start of a new tenancy. It is also possible that landlords may require follow up checks every 12 months.
What impact will this have on our current processes?
Many landlords and agents already do these checks as a matter of routine so in many cases nothing will change however for those who did not previously comply they are now legally obligated to do so.
This new legislation makes referencing for prospective tenants more time consuming and where documents are not already in place or accessible may cause delays in agreeing a lease and so it is important that pre-planning for visa documentation takes place early to facilitate speedy and successful lease agreements.
Due to strict enforcement in compliance and hefty fines for landlords or agents in breach of these requirements it is likely that no keys will be released until checks have been satisfied and therefore any delays may require additional days in temporary housing.