‘Right to rent’ checks came into force on 1 February 2016. Under the Immigration Act 2014, residential landlords must not allow an adult to occupy their property unless they are a British Citizen, EEA or Swiss national or have a ‘right to rent’.
It is important to note that the rule does not just apply to tenants but to any known adult occupier. If you do allow such illegal occupation, you can be fined £1000 or £3000 for further breaches. There will not be a breach if the landlord has carried out a ‘right to rent’ check.
The ‘right to rent’ details must be checked in the 28 days prior to the tenancy start date. There is a full list of the acceptable documents on the www.gov.uk site here:
A landlord must examine the original document and take a copy.
You must make a further check to make sure they can still rent property in the UK if their permission to stay is time limited. Depending on which is the longest, you must make a further check just before either:
- the expiry date of the occupier’s right to stay in the UK; or
- 12 months after your previous check.
You won’t have to make a further check if your tenant doesn’t have any time restrictions on their right to stay in the UK. You must tell the Home Office if you find out that your tenant can no longer legally rent property in England after making a further check. It would sensible then to commence possession proceedings, although you still have to follow the normal eviction procedures!