Property to Rent Liverpool, Letting Agents Liverpool - Housepoint
13/03/2016
Right to Rent Scheme

'Right to Rent' Checks - Landlords now responsible


There was an important announcement in 2015 stating that the government intended to eventually make it the responsibility of landlords to ensure checks are made on a person’s eligibility to live and rent property in the UK before any tenancy is signed for a property. These ‘Right To Rent’ checks were officially rolled out at the beginning of February, so I decided to provide a quick guide to everything you need to know about the scheme and what precautions you need to take to ensure you are complying with it.


It is important to mention that even as a landlord to student tenants, you are not exempt from these compulsory checks even where the university has carried out its own screening.


PILOT SCHEME


In 2015, a pilot scheme implemented in Birmingham successfully identified a number of illegal immigrants renting private housing; some were known to authorities but many were not. At the end of the scheme, five landlords were issued with fixed penalty fines for failing to implement the basic checks.


The government said the scheme aimed to create a “hostile environment for illegal immigrants” in calling for the public’s assistance on the issue of illegal immigration and enabling business owners, members of the public and landlords alike to aid the government in their identification and deportation.


Under this scheme, landlords will now face a £1,000 fine for a first offence and a £3,000 fine for every subsequent person not checked who turns out to be an illegal immigrant.


WHAT DOCUMENTS ARE VALID?


As a landlord, you are obliged to request certain valid documents and take copies of them for your records should you be challenged by the police or an immigration officer. The following documents are acceptable:


         A British or EEA (European Economic Area) passport


         An official Home Office immigration document stating a right to be in the UK


         A permanent residence card


         A foreign passport stamped with permission for unlimited leave to stay


         UK birth or adoption certificate


These are the most common, but they are not the only documents. All that is required of you is that you ask to see the documents, check them over with the tenant present and keep a record of your check, including a date of when they were checked. If a tenant claims they have special permission, you may check their status with the Home Office. The government has made available a document to help you comply with your legal obligations. Please click here to access – it also includes the full list of acceptable document types.