New requirements for landlords to check immigration status of tenants
08 February 2016
From 1 February 2016, landlords of residential properties are now required to carry out ‘right to rent’ checks on prospective tenants to ensure that they have the right to live in the UK before granting a tenancy. Failure to carry out the requisite checks can leave landlords liable to pay a fine of up to £3,000.
The government has published a Code of Practice to assist landlords in the initial checks they must carry out, which can be found here. In summary, they are as follows:
- Landlords must identify the adults who will be occupying the premises. There is no need to check the immigration status of children.
- Landlords must check the tenant’s original immigration documents. Acceptable documents include:
- A current or expired passport showing that the tenant is a British citizen or EU citizen
- A permanent residence card, indefinite leave to remain card or residence permit issued by the Home Office
- A non-EU passport or other travel document, showing that the tenant has a visa entitling them to stay in the UK for the period covered by the tenancy.
- Landlords must make copies of the documents they have seen and retain those copies with a record of the date on which the checks were made. Documents should be retained for the duration of the tenancy agreement and at least one year afterwards.
The new requirements do not apply in relation to tenancies which are already in existence, or to tenancies which are renewed after 1 February, as long as the parties to the tenancy remain the same.
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