Right to Rent: Landlords face fines of up to £3k as of Monday

As of next week, landlords and letting agents in the UK will have to add detailed “right to rent” checks to their – already lengthy – to-do lists when granting new tenancy agreements.

Quilt of Nations

The checks will require landlords to report tenants without the right paperwork to the Government’s Home Office, or else face a fine of up to £3,000. According to the official advice, landlords will need to see and take copies of original documentation that shows the individual having the right to reside in the UK. This needs to happen before the tenancy begins and again “when appropriate”, i.e. on the expiry of a tenant’s visa.

Here’s Antonia Torr, Head of Immigration Services at law firm Howard Kennedy, with the expert view…

“These measures are the latest steps by the Government to clamp down on illegal immigrants in the UK. All landlords will be required to make these ‘right to rent’ checks 28 days before the start of a new tenancy, with the checks applying to all adult tenants and all types of tenancies.

“Due to the fact that landlords will now have to regularly monitor the immigration status of their tenants, it is arguable that already existing tenancies – those in place prior to 1st February 2016 – are also caught by this new piece of legislation.

“Should a check reveal that the tenant does not have the right to live in the UK the landlord must report this to the Home Office immediately. The landlord can then choose to evict that tenant or wait further instructions from the Home Office, as the Home Office does have the power to grant temporary permission to rent.

“I would not be surprised if many landlords simply choose to evict.”

The firm reckons this could significantly impact those renting to HNWIs and their families, particularly if they’re travelling with staff or an entourage…

“The regulations require the landlord or agent to check all relevant documentation for all adults staying in the property. This will undoubtedly lead to a number of difficult conversations.”

Exemptions include social housing providers, hostels and refuges, accommodation that is provided by an employer to an employee, student accommodation, and leases that extend for seven years or more.

Torr adds: “Do not ignore this new piece of legislation…make sure you are prepared now.”

Make sure you read the Government’s advice here

Image: Quilt of Nations by Kate Harding (CC-BY-2.0)