Right to Rent checks became a mandatory legal requirement in England from 1 February 2016.
The new law means that private landlords, including those who sub-let or take in lodgers, must check the right of prospective tenants to be in the country to avoid being hit with a penalty.
Under the new rules, landlords who fail to check a potential tenant’s ‘Right to Rent’ will face penalties of up to £3,000 per tenant.
‘Right to Rent’ was introduced in the Immigration Act 2014 as part of the government’s reforms to build a fairer and more effective immigration system.
The first phase was launched in parts of the West Midlands in 2014 and caused controversy from many industry players who saw it as a move by the government to ask landlords and letting agents to act, effectively, as border control.
The phased introduction of ‘Right to Rent’, starting in the West Midlands, was to allow time to assess how the measures work in practice and to carry out an evaluation which was published in October 2015.
A panel including the Equality and Human Rights Commission as well as representatives of landlords and letting agents, local authorities, and homelessness charity Crisis, has worked with government on the evaluation.
Under ‘Right to Rent’, landlords should check identity documents for all new tenants and take copies. This includes checking a UK passport, a European Economic Area passport or identity card, a permanent residence card or travel document showing indefinite leave to remain, a Home Office immigration status document or a certificate of registration or naturalisation as a British citizen.