LANDLORDS POSSIBLE £3000 FINE PER TENANT - Right to Rent Checks

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LANDLORDS POSSIBLE £3000 FINE PER TENANT - Right to Rent Checks

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 18, 2016 12:28 am

Immigration Act 2014 and the right to rent checks came into force on 1st February 2016.

- Details from www.sharmanlaw.co.uk

Private landlords of residential properties will be prohibited from allowing certain people to occupy their rented properties. This prohibition will be based upon the immigration status of occupiers.

Landlords and agents have to check the immigration status of prospective tenants, and other authorised occupiers, to ascertain whether those parties have the right to rent in the UK. These checks will be known as the ‘right to rent checks’.

Responsibility under the scheme lies with the Landlord as the person who authorises the occupation of accommodation. Responsibility for compliance can be transferred to an agent, and if so you should have this agreement in writing. Where a property is sub-let the tenant who sublets will become responsible for carrying out the checks, unless the subletting has been authorised by a head landlord in which case the head landlord will be responsible.

Landlords and agents must ensure prospective tenants and other adult occupiers have a ‘right to rent’ in the UK by:
•Checking the immigration status of all adult occupiers who will live in the property as their only or main home
•Checking adult occupier’s original documents that demonstrate that they have a right to be in the UK, within 28 days prior to the start of the tenancy
•Checking that the documents are valid in the presence of the occupier
•Making and keeping copies of the documents and recording the date that the check was made

A property would be a tenant’s only or main home if:
 
•They live there most of the time
•They keep most of their belongings there
•Their partner or children live with them
•They are registered to vote at the property
•They are registered with the doctor at that address

Documents that will be acceptable include (but are not limited to):
 
•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

The documents should:
•Be originals and belong to the tenant
•Be in date and not show that the tenant’s right to rent has expired.
•Have the same dates of birth on all of them.
•Not be too damaged or look like they have been changed
•Where names are different on any of the documents, supporting documents should also be provided such as marriage certificates or divorce decrees
•Where they have photos these should be of the tenant

If a document shows a limited (i.e. time restricted) right to remain in the UK, then the expiry date must be noted with the document copies and further checks must be carried out prior to the expiry date. If a follow up check indicates no right to rent, the Landlord does not have to evict the Tenant but must report to the Home Office ‘as soon as reasonably practicable after discovering the occupier no longer has a right to rent and before their existing time limited Statutory Excuse expires’.

A Landlord/agent will be liable for a penalty of up to £3000 per tenant if they authorise occupation of accommodation by a person who does not have a right to rent in the UK.

From the 1st February a revised code of practice on illegal immigrants and private rented accommodation will come into force. The Landlord’s Code of Practice can be found on the government website (currently in draft form) and gives detailed guidance on how to carry out the right to rent checks. There is also a code of practice for avoiding unlawful discrimination when conducting the checks.

If you are unsure about the nature of any identity documents, there is a very helpful website called http://www.consilium.europa.eu/prado/en/prado-start-page.html which we recommend you consult.

Admin

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