29th April 2017
Each week, we answer a reader’s rental property question, from first-time landlords to experienced owners. Agony Agent, is here to help!
Q: What are right to rent checks, and do I need to do them on my tenants?
A: The simple answer is yes. You, or your agent, will need to check the tenant’s eligibility to rent a property in the UK.
What are Right to Rent checks?
Following an initial trial in the North, Right to Rent checks have been rolled out nationwide affecting all residential landlords. Since February 2016, landlords are required to know their tenants in much the same way as employers are required to know their employees. In particular, they need to know the immigration status of all of their adult tenants. There are exemptions, such as commercial leases, employer provided accommodation, care homes and so on; but for the majority of landlords and agents in the UK this has been an important development. The reason for that is that the penalties are high if mistakes are made, and the law is so new that the worry about making mistakes is real. The Immigration Act slightly improves the position offering more defenses, but essentially due diligence for landlords, and those serving them, got harder in 2016.
• Check the original documents for inconsistencies (dates across documents; that they look like the person sitting in front of you etc.)
• Make a full copy of all the documents (front and back)
If they do not meet the guidance, at that point make further checks:
• Note the date of expiration on any leave periods
• Hold the document copies on file with the client’s consent
• Have a system in place to check back prior to the expiration date on the leave that permission has been renewed
Once you are satisfied they meet the right to rent requirements, you can go ahead with the rental procedure. It sounds so simple, doesn’t it??? If this all sound a little too much work, and more red tape that the government has passed on to you, then contact our office. We are more than happy to provide the checks, and even a tenant for your investment.
If you are going to check your own tenant’s validity, then I would suggest that if the tenant does not have a UK passport, visit the Home Office website and read their guidelines.