Right to Rent- What landlords need to know

February 19, 2016

Right to rent refers to who is allowed to rent accommodation in the UK. Only those who have a right to be in the country can do so. Landlords, agents, those living in the property in question should all check that tenants living in the property be it private or rented are doing so legally. If after a check has been carried out it is established that the tenant does not have the right to rent, a civil penalty may be enforced. As an estate agents in Walthamstow, dealing with Properties to buy in Walthamstow and Leyton, we keep on top of the latest legislation so all our clients remain informed.

To check whether a person has the right to rent, acceptable documents should be obtained. These documents should be photocopied and held in a secure premise, for the duration of the tenancy and 12 months after it ends, in case of inspection.

Landlords, agents and householders do not have to check the right to rent of existing
occupiers who moved in before the requirement to conduct checks was introduced. If the start of a tenancy pre-date the new legislation, no checks are needed. Children under the age of 18 do not need to be checked, once their parents have passed checks.

Anyone who takes in a lodger must also investigate if they have a right to rent. Even if you sublet your property, you have to double check your tenants circumstances. Again, all property owners are responsible for carrying out checks and a failure to do so will result in a penalty.
If a sub-letting occupier wants to transfer responsibility for checks to their landlord, and the landlord agrees, both parties should keep written evidence of the agreement.

Landlords or householders may appoint an agent to carry out checks on their behalf. It is highly encouraged that a written agreement is followed up that clearly states the transfer of obligation.
Liability for the checks cannot be transferred beyond the agent.

There are two lists of documents which are acceptable as proof of someone’s right to
rent. Most of which are tied to whether or not an individual has a right to be in the UK.These include a UK passport, permanent resident card and travel documents. The government website lists the documents which prove these rights and can be found in the Code of Practice on illegal immigrants and private rented accommodation section. If a person does not show any of the documents listed on the government website when investigated, landlords can request a right to rent check from the Home Office. If a person cannot show any of the acceptable documents listed, but claims to have an outstanding immigration case or appeal with the Home Office, or claims their
documents are with Home Office, the landlord, agent or householder can request that the Home Office carry out a right to rent check by completing an online form.

If a tenant has a residency for only a limited amount of time, you must check back up on them once their right to stay in the UK has expired and see if they have had their right to stay extended. You must keep a record of this process, whether you are the landlord in question or the responsible letting agent.Do the follow up check before the individuals right to stay in the UK has expired.

It is well worth your time to familiarize your self with what the official documents are which indicate whether or not a person has the right to rent in the UK and be aware whether the responsibility lies upon you to investigate these documents or not.

If for any reason the tenants application to be in the UK is being held up due to Home Office bureaucracy, get in touch with the Home Office request that the Home Office carryout a check via the Landlord Checking Service.

You can be fined up to £3,000 per occupier if you rent your property to someone who isn’t allowed to stay in the UK, so it is important that you carry out checks.

At Waltham Estates, we love our local area. If you are thinking of moving to the happening borough of Leyton, we will do all we can to point you in the direction of some of the best deals on the market. We help all our customers find their dream home or apartment, with professional care and advice along the way. We offer a comprehensive property management service in Walthamstow, to make landlords lives easier. Call us today.

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