Thursday 12 May 2022
As a landlord, before renting your property you must ensure your proposed tenant or lodger has the legal right to rent property in the United Kingdom. If this is not done, you can receive a penalty of up to £3,000 per tenant!
This scheme was introduced Under section 22 of the Immigration Act of 2014 as part of the government's changes to develop a fair and functional immigration system. By, 1 February 2016, all private landlords in England had to ensure their tenant has the right to rent. This right to rent scheme currently only applies in England and does not apply to children.
Depending on their immigration status, individuals will mainly be divided into two groups under the Scheme. These are unlimited rights to rent and time-limited right to rent. Most people will be able to rent for an unlimited period of time these include British Citizens, Irish Citizens, and those 'who have the right of abode in the UK, or who have been granted settlement or have settled status, including via the EUSS, or have no time limit on their permission to stay in the UK'.
However, those who do not have unlimited right to rent will fall into the time-limited right to rent category meaning they will only be able to rent for a set period of time. These usually include those who have valid permission to stay in the UK, with a pre-settled status. Meaning they will have a right to reside in the UK and will be able to provide documentary evidence (physical or digital) to demonstrate this. – GOV UK
The Secretary of State may grant someone authorization to rent even if their immigration status would ordinarily exclude them from doing so.
A landlord will not face a legal penalty if they rent to an adult who has been granted permission to rent. In this case, to check the individual has the right to rent in the UK, the landlord must contact the Landlord Checking Service (LCS) to establish that the potential tenant is permitted to rent.
'A person is not permitted to occupy residential accommodation if they require permission to be in the UK and do not have it. This means they do not have the right to rent.'
A landlord will be liable for a civil penalty if they allow a person who does not have the right to rent to occupy a property as their only or main residence.
What you need to do as a landlord to avoid penalties:
- Landlords must examine all tenants aged 18 and over at the beginning of a new tenancy, even if they are not identified on the tenancy agreement, there is no tenancy agreement, and the tenancy agreement is not in writing. If the tenant is only allowed to reside in the UK for a limited time, the right to rent check must be carried out 28 days before the tenancy starts.
- Landlords are required to inspect and make a copy of all their proposed tenants' identification documents under the right to rent.
- Landlords must check ALL new tenants. It’s against the law to only check people you think are not British citizens as this would be discriminating.
- Landlords may designate an agent to perform checks on their behalf but should retain a written agreement stating that the agency is responsible for the first right to rent check as well as any follow-up checks for individuals with a time-limited right to rent. Under this arrangement, liability for civil penalties is passed to the agent, but liability cannot be carried beyond the agency.
Some properties and types of tenancy agreements are excluded from the right to rent checks, some examples of this include housing provided by local authorities, social housing, and care homes. For a full list of excluded properties and residential tenancy agreements, please check the Government website.
You will also be able to find the landlords’ codes of practice document on the Government website, where you can learn more about right-to-rent checks.
If you are ever unsure, please do not hesitate to contact us, and one of our ARLA-qualified staff members would love to assist and answer any questions you have!
Thanks for reading.