What is 'Right To Rent'?
The government have introduced new legislation under the Immigration Act 2014, as of 1st February 2016, that all private landlords in England including those who sub-let or take in lodgers will have to check new tenants have the right to be in the UK before renting out their property. It has also been suggested that this legislation will shortly be introduced into Wales.
How to check a prospective tenant has the right to be in the UK?
Landlords are now liable to confirm that the rental property will be the tenants only or main home & to will also need to check each tenants identity documents.
Acceptable documents include:
- UK passport
- EEA passport or identity card
- Permanent residence card or travel document showing indefinite leave to remain
- Home Office immigration status document
- Certificate of registration or naturalisation as a British citizen
A full list of documentation can be found on GOV.UK
- Check the name, photograph & any expiry dates whilst the tenant is with you
- Make copies of the document & the date you made the check
- You may have to make more checks in the future if you tenants are only allowed to be here temporarily
- Making a right to rent check with the Home Office - If a tenant has an outstanding immigration application or appeal with the Home Office, you can request a Home Office right to rent check.
Landlord must also ensure that they do not discriminate against potential tenants due to the new legislation. Guidelines have been issues by The Human Rights Commission to help landlords avoid unlawful discrimination. However despite this, surveys have discovered that the introduction of the Rent To Right checks have discouraged landlords to rent to someone without a British passport. The survey has also revealed that some landlords would be less likely to rent to someone with a foreign name or accent.
The Penalties for non-compliance
- £3,000 Fine
- Although, at present, prison sentences are not in place, hefty sentences could potentially be at stake in the future
List of EU Countried & The European Economic Area (EEA)
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.
The European Economic Area (EEA)
The EEA includes EU countries and also Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. It allows them to be part of the EU's single market.
Switzerland is neither an EU nor EEA member but is part of the single market - this means Swiss nationals have the same rights to live and work in the UK as other EEA nationals.
Last updated: 24 July 2015