From 1 February 2016, all UK private landlords in England will be required to carry out Right to Rent checks. From this date, you can only become a private tenant if you pass immigration law.
Checks will apply to anyone who:
is a private landlord
has a lodger
sub-lets a property
is an agent appointed by a landlord to make right to rent checks.
Local authority housing and social housing landlords are excluded from Right to Rent.
Tenants have the right to private rental accommodation in the UK if:
they are a British citizen
a citizen of an EU country of EEA
a citizen of another country with no time limits on your permission to live in the UK.
Right to Rent checks will apply to verbal or written agreements that started on or after 1 February 2016. Anyone over the age of 18 will be checked, and anyone over the age of 18 who will also be living there, for example a husband, wife or other family member. Children and guests are exempt.
Performing a check
Begin by checking that the property will be the tenant’s main home.
Ask for original documentation that show they can live in the UK, for example a passport, driver's licence, Home Office immigration status document or birth certificate.
Check the documents are valid while the tenant is with you by assessing names, photographs and expiration dates.
Finally, make copies of each piece of documentation and record the date of the check. Future checks may need to be carried out if the tenants are only allowed to stay temporarily.
Landlords that do not carry out the checks could be fined up to £3,000 if they are found to be renting a property to a tenant who is in the UK illegally. Right to Rent was introduced in the Immigration Act 2014 as part of a set of government reforms to create a fairer and effective immigration system.
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.”
For more information on Right to Rent checks, please visit the official Gov.UK page.