RIGHT TO RENT
Right to Rent is a government scheme which makes landlords responsible for checking their tenant has a legal right to rent in the UK.
What is Right to Rent?
Right to Rent is a set of rules which puts the onus on landlords/letting agents to check their tenant has the legal right to rent in the UK. It was introduced in England as part of The Immigration Act 2014 to clamp down on illegal migrants.
When did it start?
Right to Rent applies to all tenancies that started on or after 1st February 2016.
How do I know if I am a landlord?
In the Government’s words, a landlord is somebody who “lets accommodation for us by one or more adult as their only or main home”.
If you take in lodgers, sublet an existing rental property or act on behalf of a landlord, this means you too.
What if I use a lettings agent?
If you use a lettings agent to let your property then the Right to Rent checks will be their responsibility. However, this must be agreed with the agent or you could still be held responsible.
What type of tenants should I check?
Every single potential tenant aged over 18, regardless of whether they are British, or named on the tenancy agreement. All agreements are affected, not just Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreements.
Who has the right to rent?
There are two groups of people that have the right to rent in the UK: those with unlimited right to rent and those with a time-limited right to rent.
Here’s the difference:
Unlimited Right to Rent: This group includes British citizens, EEA (European Economic Area) nationals or Swiss nationals.
It also refers to people who have the right of abode in the UK and those that have been granted indefinite leave to remain or have no time limit on their stay in the UK.
Time–limited Right to Rent: Anyone who falls outside the above categories will have a time-limited right to rent (so long as they also have valid leave to enter or remain in the UK for a limited period of time.
Time-limited right to renters also include people that are permitted to enter or remain in the UK as a result of Acts of Parliament, European Union Treaties and Immigration Regulation.
Who does not have the right to rent?
Anyone seeking residential accommodation who requires permission to be in the UK – but does not have it. If you find the potential tenant does not have the Right to Rent, you must not offer them accommodation.
How do I make a Right to Rent check?
By walking through the following Right to Rent checklist:
1. Confirm that the tenants will be using your home as their main residence.
2. Gather original supporting documents from your tenant to verify their identity and their right to rent in the UK.
Documents could include a passport or driving licence and birth certificate – and/or if the tenant is time-limited, a residence card, visa and/or immigration status.
You will need to check all documents are valid in the presence of the tenant.
3. Record the date you made the check and keep all copies of the documents for at least 12 months after the tenancy ends.
4. If the tenant has an ongoing immigration application or appeal, the Home Office will run a free Right to Rent check on your behalf.
If your tenant is categorised as time-limited, you’ll need to make follow-up checks before either:
Your tenant’s permission to stay in the UK expires 12 months has passed since your previous check If your follow-up check reveals your tenant no longer has the right to rent, you must make a report to the Home Office.
When does the Right to Rent check need to be made?
You will have to conduct your Right to Rent check within 28 days before the start of a new tenancy. But if it’s being arranged from overseas, you’ll need to carry out the documents before the tenant moves in.
What happens if I ignore Right to Rent rules?
If you are caught letting your property to someone who does not have the right to rent in the UK – and you are unable to show you carried out the correct checks – you could be fined up to £3,000.
Are there any exemptions to Right to Rent?
The Right to Rent rules only apply to private landlords. Local authorities social housing, care homes, hospitals and hospices, for example, will all be exempt. Student accommodation also falls outside the rules as do temporary holiday lets.
The Home Office recommends that if your property is being let for three months or longer, this could indicate it’s being used as a main residence, so checks should be carried out regardless.