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Right to rent checks

Right to rent

Right to rent checks

As of 2 November 2020, the UK government has updated and published the following guidances in relation to the right to rent checks. They will be relevant to you if you are a landlord/agent planning to let your premises or that you are looking to rent in the UK. Kindly note that the guidances apply to foreign nationals, UK visa holders, settled persons, and British citizens.

They are particularly important to landlords/agents as they could face a civil penalty if they enter into a tenancy agreement with someone without a right to rent. They could even be charged with a criminal offence if they know, or have reasonable cause to believe, that they are letting to a disqualified person.

It is also essential for prospective or existing tenants to understand what documents they have to provide or how to use the newly introduced Home Office online service to prove their right to rent.

Right to rent document checks: a user guide

This guidance is designed to assist both tenants and landlords when carrying out right to rent checks. And it should be read in conjunction with the two guidances below.

It consists of the following information:

  • Types of document that can be presented by a tenant and accepted by a landlord for a right to rent check;
    • Acceptable single documents which enable an unlimited right to rent such as a UK passport, a British naturalisation certificate, a biometric residence permit with unlimited leave, etc.;
    • Acceptable document combinations that enable an unlimited right to rent such as a driving license along with a UK birth certificate;
    • Documents which show a time-limited rent such as a biometric residence permit with time-limited leave
  • Information on how to check the validity of documents, retain the evidence, and what you can do if you do not have standard identity documents; and
  • Frequently asked questions.

For more information, you can access this guidance via the link below:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/931769/Right_to_Rent_Checks_A_user_guide_for_tenants_and_landlords.pdf

Landlord’s guide to right to rent checks

This guidance sets out the detailed steps of how a landlord, letting agent or homeowner could conduct a right to rent check when letting privately rented accommodation, especially those regarding the newly introduced Home Office online checking service.

It also sets out how a landlord, letting agent or homeowner could prevent liability for a civil penalty, i.e. to establish a statutory excuse against liability for a penalty by:

  • Conducting initial right to rent checks before authorising an adult to occupy rented accommodation;
  • Conducting follow-up checks at the appropriate date if initial checks indicate that a tenant has a time-limited right to rent; and
  • Making a report to the Home Office if follow-up checks indicate that a tenant no longer has the right to rent.

For more information, you can access this guidance via the link below:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/931765/Landlords_guide_to_right_to_rent_checks.pdf

Code of practice on right to rent: civil penalty scheme for landlords and their agents

This guidance contains the following information:

  • Factors the Secretary of State will consider when determining whether a residential tenancy agreement grants a right of occupation of premises for residential use including;
    • The nature of the agreement;
    • The purpose of the agreement;
    • Date of which the agreement was entered into, etc.
  • Factors the Secretary of State will consider when determining whether a person is occupying premises as their only or main home;
    • Use of the property;
    • Ties to the property;
    • Reason why the person lives far away from the property for extended periods, etc.
  • Actions a landlord should undertake to comply with the right to rent scheme and establish a statutory excuse against liability for a civil liability, including:
    • The reasonable enquiries a landlord should make to determine who will occupy their accommodation, whether or not those occupiers are named on the tenancy agreement
    • The initial and follow-up checks a landlord should perform with details of the documents they can rely upon to satisfy these checks
  • Factors the Secretary of State will consider when deciding on the amount of penalty which should be imposed under the right to rent scheme:
    • Whether or not the landlord has established a statutory excuse against liability for a civil liability;
    • Whether or not the landlord has breached the right to rent scheme within the past three years; and
    • Whether the breach involved a private household or rented accommodation.

For more information, you can access this guidance via the link below:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/930890/2020.10.29_Right_to_rent_code_of_practice.pdf

Should you have any questions regarding the abovementioned guidances or you would like to discuss your UK immigration matters, please contact our expert team of London immigration lawyers at Barar and Associates at barar.london@bararassociates.co.uk or call us on 020 7487 8370. You can access more information about us via https://bararassociates.com/