As of 1st February 2016, landlords now have a legal obligation when letting their property: to ensure their tenants have a ‘right to rent‘.
What is ‘right to rent’?
The government has recently introduced legislation to help make sure that tenants are legally able to rent residential property in England. This means that, before the start of every new tenancy, each individual who will be using the property as their main home will need their documents checked, and records kept, to ensure they have this right.
Landlords can be fined up to £3,000 if they fail to make these checks.
The right to rent check must be carried out in the presence of the tenant, in which time landlords are required to identify the legitimacy of the documents.
How do I know if this applies to me?
The legislation, which is covered under Section 22 of the Immigration Act 2014, is applicable to landlords in England. These checks will only be required if the tenancy started on, or after, the date of the implementation of the scheme; any tenancies that started before that date are exempt.
Not all landlords are required to make these checks; the only people required to do so are:
- Private landlords
- Those who have a lodger
- Those who are sub-letting property
- Agents appointed by private landlords to conduct the right to rent checks
What are the exceptions?
There are several types of tenancy agreements which are exempt from the scheme. These include:
- Accommodation that involves local authorities
- Social housing
- Student accommodation
- Hostels and refuges
- Care homes, hospitals, hospices and continuing healthcare provision
- Mobile homes
- Tied accommodation
- Long leases (of 7 years or more)
For more information on the specifics relating to these tenancy agreements, please refer to section 3.7 of the scheme.
What constitutes an acceptable form of documentation for the right to rent checks?
There are a number of documents that can be presented to the landlord to confirm the tenant’s right to rent. These can be presented as a single document, or in combination, to prove that the tenant either has an unlimited or time-limited right to rent.
You can view a full list of applicable documents on the government’s ‘Right to Rent Document Checks: a User Guide’.
As stated on the UK government’s website, ‘You can ask any agents that manage or let your property to carry out the check for you. You should have this agreement in writing.’. Selina’s Lettings are able to handle all the necessary referencing checks for £16 (ex VAT) per check. If you are a landlord in Gloucestershire who requires this service, please get in touch.