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Right to Rent checks will become mandatory for all adult occupiers with new tenancies in England from 1 February 2016
Last week the Home Office issued an updated version of the Right to Rent Code of Practice to be used by landlords and agents letting properties in England from 1 February 2016. The existing Code published for landlords and agents working in the phase one areas of the West Midlands continues to apply to properties within those phase one areas. Any ID checks or follow up checks which fall after 1 February will be subject to the new Code of Practice.
The new Code includes amended lists of acceptable documents for Right to Rent checks. The Home Office planned a more complicated structure for the ID lists with certain documents weighted for importance. However, our lobbying efforts have resulted in this structure being rejected in favour of the simpler existing system. Amended lists of acceptable documents are specified in section 5.2 of the updated Code available here.
We continue to put pressure on the Home Office to publish an updated version of the Landlords’ guide to checking immigration documents. This guidance is an essential reference tool for agents faced with unfamiliar documentation. However, ARLA has been told in the last few days that this may not be available until 1st February.
Immigration Minister James Brokenshire:
“Landlords with property in England need to prepare now for the new Right to Rent scheme to ensure they are ready for 1 February.
“Right to Rent is part of the Government’s wider reforms to the immigration system to make it stronger, fairer and more effective. Those with a legitimate right to be here will be able to prove this easily and will not be adversely affected. The scheme is about deterring those without the right to live, work or study in the UK from staying here indefinitely.”
The ARLA Factsheet on Right to Rent Immigration Checks for landlords and agents and available here
When updating your landlord Terms of Business don’t forget to include Right to Rent checks.
Here’s a reminder of how to carry out checks
Establish who will be living in the property
Carry out the checks on all adult occupiers
Retain the documentation until 12 months from the end of the tenancy
Be ready to produce evidence of the checks if required
If the tenant is only allowed to be in the UK for a limited period of time, you will have to carry out follow-up checks at a later date. Note the dates for this.
The Home Office are running a media campaign to highlight awareness among landlords and tenants. We have stressed the importance of this; the more that consumers are aware of an expectation to meet the new requirements, the easier it will be for agents to comply.
We continue to work closely with the Home Office and update our FAQs where new issues are raised. Our most recent dialogue with the Home Office included guidance on checking ID for occupiers wearing headscarves. See the Immigration Act pages for more information.
It remains to be seen how a multi-agency approach to enforcement works as the scheme is rolled out across England however you could face a civil penalty of up to £3,000 per tenant for renting your property to someone who isn’t allowed to stay in the UK.