What is the right to rent?

Essentially this ensures all people who let properties have the right to live in the UK. Landlords should only allow people to live in their properties if the have the right to rent.

The right to rent and an obligation on landlords is set out in the Immigration Act 2014. 1st February is the national roll out of the right to rent, that to date has just been piloted in some West Midlands areas.

Does it apply to us?

Yes if:

  • You are a landlord;
  • The property is in England; and
  • The tenancy starts on or after 1st February 2016.

Some types of property are excluded including:

  • Hostels;
  • Refuges;
  • Care homes; and
  • Tied accommodation.

 What do we need to do?

Within 28 days before the start of a new tenancy, the landlord must makes checks on all those aged over 18 living in the property (whether they are named tenant or not) to establish if they have the right to rent.

So landlords will need to:

  • Check which adults will live in the property as their only or main home;
  • Request to see original (not copy) documentation that allows each of those adults to live in the UK and check that those documents are genuine;
  • Keep a record of the checks made, including keeping copies of the documents seen;
  • If someone’s permission to stay in the UK is time limited, carry out further checks; and
  • Tell the Home Office if you find out an occupier no longer has the right to rent.

The Home Office has produced detailed guidance to help landlords, including a Code of Practice and Guidance on rules and acceptable documents. These are available here. These should be read carefully.

To avoid any discrimination claims, you should ask for evidence from all adults who will be living in the property.

If an agent manages the property on your behalf, make sure the agent is aware of these requirements and establish which one of you is carrying out the checks.

What if we don’t check the right to rent?

A landlord may be fined £3,000 if they allow someone who does not have the right to rent to live in a property.

For more information

If you require any detailed advice about the right to rent and implications for you, or allocations and lettings generally, please contact Emma Hardman.