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Agony Agent is here to help!

10th February 2018

This week I thought I would bring to your attention an issue that has affected a few agents that I know.

Beware of fake Right to Rent documentation.  The Right to Rent Document checks came into force on 1st February 2016.  Letting agents should have incorporated this immigration check into their standard pre-tenancy checks and referencing.  As a landlord you are required to check if a prospective tenant has the legal right to rent in the UK, and there is a chance you could potentially be provided with false documentation by tenants.

The BBC covered this issue some time ago, and suggested that these rules around the new law may be fuelling a black market for forged ID documentation.

And, unfortunately, you as the Landlord need to spot fakes!!!  The Right to Rent (RtoR) scheme requires landlords to check prospective tenant documents to confirm their eligibility to live in the UK.  The Government has created a comprehensive guide that clearly sets out which documents you can accept as a landlord, and what to do in different situations, to ensure you are doing the right thing.

With the number of fake ID documents clearly on the rise, here is a list of some of the things to look out for when carrying out RtoR checks:

  • Does the name on the document match up with the name given by the tenant?
  • Is there a clear likeness between the tenant and the photo on the ID provided?
  • Are there any signs of document tampering? The words and numbers is one part of an ID document which is commonly messed with, so it’s important to check closely.
  • How does the size and position of the photo look on the document?
  • Is the information provided in date?

If you don’t comply with RtoR checks, you could be hit with a heavy fine or criminal prosecution!  According to the Home Office, since October last year, there have been 170 fines issued to landlords under the scheme.  If you are not sure about this, the Government has plenty of online guides and videos to help you through this.

If the tenant doesn’t have the correct documents, you can always ask the Home Office if:

  • the Home Office has their documents
  • they have an outstanding case or appeal with the Home Office
  • the Home Office told them they have ‘permission to rent’

With the risk of being given potential fakes, and fines for not carrying out the correct checks, it’s becoming increasingly important for landlords to ensure their tenants have the right to rent in the UK.

For further information on this, either look at www.gov.uk/check-tenant-right-to-rent-documents or contact me for a quick chat.

Richard Bond

Lettings Manager

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