From the 1st of February 2016, landlords will have to carry out Right-to-Rent checks on prospective tenants before they enter into a tenancy agreement. This is the date when Section 22 of the Immigration Act 2014 comes into force following the six month trial period that has been conducted in the Midlands. As part of the checks, a landlord will need to confirm the age of each tenant and ensure every adult has the right to be in the UK. If they fail to do this, landlords can face fines of up to £3,000 per occupier.
In order to check the status of tenants, landlords will have to ask to see relevant documentation such as a birth certificate, passport or a biometric immigration document. Each adult tenant will have to be checked, including those who will not be named on the tenancy agreement. The documents should be examined in the presence of the prospective tenants to ensure pictures match and the given ages are accurate. Landlords should also look for signs of tampering. If they allow tenancy to go ahead without conducting the checks or accept fake documents, they can be fined heavily.
Every prospective tenant will need to be checked, regardless of their country of origin. Tenants with a passport from the UK, Switzerland or a country in the European Economic Area who have no restrictions against them will not need checking further afterwards. People from outside these areas will have to confirm their right to rent by showing the relevant documents.
Each landlord will need to keep a copy of the documents for the duration of the tenancy and a year after the date it ends. The dates of checks should be included to keep a clear record. After the period has elapsed, the copies can be destroyed.
The new laws are designed to reduce the number of people who stay in the UK beyond the expiration of their right to be here. Landlords will have to do follow up checks on their tenants after 12 months or before their right to be in the UK expires. Any issues will have to be reported to the Home Office. The new laws will increase the workload for landlords, but we can help you reduce the amount of work you have to do with our complete property management services, which are available in Southwark and throughout the rest of London.