It is likely that following the referendum decision to leave the European Union on 23 June 2016 much of our Employment and Immigration law will be under scrutiny, including the Immigration Act 2014. But there will be no immediate change, and this does mean that Landlords should continue to make the checks on prospective tenants laid down by the Act. Since the 1 February 2016, all landlords in England and Wales have been required to check that prospective tenants have a legal right to be in the UK or face a fine of up to £3,000 per tenant.
What this means for Landlords
Landlords should not rent accommodation to anyone who is not a relevant national, or who doesn’t have a right to rent in this country. A relevant national is either a British, EEA (European Economic Area) or Swiss Citizen. People within these groups can rent accommodation here, but should be asked to provide evidence of their citizenship before doing so.
Individuals who are not relevant nationals may still be able to rent property if they have permission from the Home Office. Evidence of this permission should be provided to a Landlord, who should always keep a copy.
Landlords should take the following steps prior to letting out the Property:
- Identify the adults who will occupy the premises as their only or main residence.
- Obtain originals of one or more of acceptable ID documents for the adult.
- Check the original documents in the presence of the holder (certify the ID).
- Retain copies with a record of the date on which the checks were made.
All copies of documents taken should be kept for the duration of the tenancy agreement and for a least one year thereafter.
The Act applies to:
- landlords who let accommodation with a lease or tenancy agreement to one or more adults (over the age of 18) as their only or main residence;
- occupiers who sub-let their accommodation;
- landlords or occupiers who take in lodgers and share their accommodation.
The tenancy must be in exchange for payment of rent, (it does not apply to non-rent paying guests) and if you have an existing agreement which was entered into prior to 1 February 2016, there is no obligation to carry out the checks. There are certain types of accommodation that the rules do not apply to, including:
- mobile homes
- refuges and homeless hostels managed by voluntary organisations
- long leases
- care homes
- some student accommodation
but the situation is not always clear, and it is safer to avoid the possibility of a fine by carrying out the simple checks. North Ainley Solicitors appreciate the administrative burden and red tape involved for Landlords of residential property. We can offer advice on how to meet the requirements and provide tenancy agreements that comply with all current regulations.
If you would like to discuss the right to rent requirements and how they may affect you now, and in the future, please contact a member of the Property Team.