The Home Office this morning warned that landlords and agents have only a short time left in which to get to grips with the Right to Rent regime.
This is implemented right across England on February 1, but as from this week, landlords and agents can start to carry out immigration status checks on potential tenants.
The Home Office says that this is because the Right to Rent checks can be done from 28 days before the start of a tenancy agreement.
Immigration minister James Brokenshire insisted that the checks are straightforward and do not require any specialist knowledge.
He said: “Right to Rent is part of the Government’s wider reforms to the immigration system to make it stronger, fairer and more effective.
“Those with a legitimate right to be here will be able to prove this easily and will not be adversely affected.
“The scheme is about deterring those without the right to live, work or study in the UK from staying here indefinitely.”
Right to Rent obligations apply to all private landlords with property in England, tenants who sub-let and also people who take in lodgers.
An agent can be appointed to undertake the checks on the landlord’s behalf.
The checks must be carried out on all adult occupants. The rules apply to new tenancy agreements from February 1 onwards, with existing tenancy agreements unaffected.
The steps are:
- Establish who will live at the property
- Obtain a tenant’s original acceptable documents
- Check the documents with the tenant present
- Copy and keep the copied documents on file and record the date of the check
If the tenant is only allowed to be in the UK for a limited period of time, agents or landlords will have to carry out follow-up checks at a later date.
Exemptions to the scheme include all local authority housing, company lets and holiday lets.
A Practical Guide to Right to Rent Checks aimed at educating both agents and landlords is being held in Cambridge on January 18.
Full information here