From 1 February 2016, all private landlords in England will have to check that new tenants have the right to be in the UK before renting out their property (right to rent). The Immigration Act 2014 prohibits private landlords of residential properties from allowing certain people to occupy those properties based on the immigration status of the occupiers. Landlords will have to check the status of prospective tenants, and other authorised occupiers, to ascertain whether those parties have the right to occupy the premises before granting a tenancy. Landlords must also make sure that someone’s right to occupy the premises does not lapse. Breaching the prohibition could lead to a civil penalty of up to £3,000.
This follows the pilot project introduced in Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton in December last year. The government has also published Home Office: ‘A short guide for landlords on right to rent’ to assist landlords, homeowners and letting agents in carrying out the necessary right to rent checks. This contains guidance on who must make the initial checks, how to carry out those checks and when repeat checks are required.