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What does Right to Rent mean for me?
Right to Rent was introduced under the Immigration Act 2014 and it is really important for both tenants and landlords to understand the implications of this act.
It places restrictions on illegal immigrants accessing rented accommodation in England by making all adult occupants prove they are in the UK legally before being granted a tenancy. This is done through a process called a Right to Rent check.
What is a Right to Rent check?
This is when a prospective adult occupant of a rental property shows their identity documents in person to a landlord or letting agent. This is a similar checking process to presenting your passport (and visa) to a border control officer at an immigration check point.
The landlord/letting agent must take a copy of the documents seen, and record the check being completed. If a tenant has a time limited right to rent (e.g. a visa or Biometric Residency Permit with an expiry date) then the check must be done within 28 days of the tenancy start date and the visa must be valid for the proposed tenancy start date.
What are the landlord’s/agent’s responsibilities?
The landlord/agent must:
• Check all adult tenants who will live in the property as their only or main home
• Ask tenants for the original documents that show they have the right to be in the UK
• Check the original documents with the tenant physically present and ensure they are valid
• Make copies of the original documents and record when the check was completed
• Conduct follow up checks at the appropriate time (e.g. repeat the check when a tenant’s visa expires)
If follow up checks reveal that an occupant in a rental property no longer has a valid ‘Right to Rent’ then the landlord/lettings agent must report that person to the Home Office.
What documents are acceptable?
Acceptable documents that a tenant can use to demonstrate their identity and Right to Rent are dependent on their nationality.
Options for EEA/Swiss citizens are:
• valid Passport
• valid EEA*/Swiss national ID card
• combination of valid UK driving licence & original UK birth certificate (British citizens only)
*Countries in the EEA are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden & the UK
Options for all other nationalities are a combination of passport and a valid visa or Biometric Residence Permit (BRP).
If I don’t have my documents what are the consequences?
Occupation of a rental property is conditional on all adult occupants demonstrating a valid Right to Rent prior to the tenancy start date. If any adult occupant fails to present themselves and their original documents proving a valid Right to Rent then all occupants may be denied access to the rental property until this requirement is satisfied.
If you want to know more about Right to Rent checks or have any other questions regarding landlord legislation, we are hosting a series of live webinars, starting on Wednesday 28th November, hosted by our Director of Tenancy Services, Sarah Bailey MARLA and Head of Compliance, Nicola Hopley MARLA. To register your interest and sign up, simply email firstname.lastname@example.org
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