By Matt Johnson, Residential Lettings Manager
All landlords in England must carry out ‘Right to Rent’ immigration checks as the impact of Brexit finally reaches the private rental sector.
From 1st July 2021, new Home Office guidance states that checks on all prospective adult tenants should be conducted before a tenancy agreement starts.
To remain compliant with UK law, it’s important for landlords to be aware of these changes – and this guide explains when and how you can obtain all the relevant information.
Should you wish to discuss any issues in detail, call 01482 566057 and chat to our residential letting experts.
What is the Right to Rent immigration law?
In England, a landlord or their letting agent must carry out checks to make sure all tenants aged 18 and over can legally rent a residential property – and are not disqualified because of their immigration status.
As part of the post-Brexit transition arrangement, Right to Rent immigration checks are now required for citizens of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
Before getting their hands on the keys, prospective tenants must prove they have successfully applied to the EU Settlement Scheme or obtained a suitable UK visa.
Do landlords have to check immigration status?
To avoid civil or criminal sanctions, landlords (or their agent) must carry out ‘Right to Rent’ immigrations checks.
Basically, this new law applies to anyone letting out private residential accommodation in England. This includes private landlords, agents, owners, tenants and any other occupiers who allow a lodger to stay or sub-let a premise.
When should checks be carried out?
Landlords must check the ‘Right to Rent’ immigration status of all prospective occupiers before a residential tenancy agreement is granted.
If an occupier is overseas and arranging accommodation for work or study in the UK ahead of their arrival, landlords can check before taking up occupation instead of before the start of the tenancy agreement.
Digital status checks are allowed to be conducted by video call indefinitely.
From 1st September 2021, landlords and letting agents will need to carry out Right to Rent checks in person. Tenants with a Home Office status are exempt.
At Garness Jones, we work in partnership with private landlords and portfolio holders to ensure they are 100% compliant with the latest immigration legislation.
If you’d like some advice on the issue (or just want someone else to handle the hassle), please call 01482 566057 for impartial and professional advice.
What documents are needed for a Right to Rent check?
ARLA Propertymark, the Association of Residential Lettings Agents, has been working in partnership with the Home Office to implement the changes to immigration checks.
According to guidance from ARLA; an EEA, EU, or Swiss national needs to prove their UK immigration status – and can no longer rely on showing their passport or national ID card.
EEA citizens who live in the UK and have applied to the Home Office for settled status should have been provided with digital evidence of their UK immigration status.
Issued in the form of a ‘share code’ which can be input into the Right to Rent government website, along with their date of birth, this data will then reveal their immigration status.
If an EEA citizen has different evidence of their UK status, such as a physical visa document, landlords can use this as proof.
Nationals from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the US with biometric passports are permitted to use a combination of their passport (if entering the UK through ePassport gates) and evidence of their UK arrival.
These individuals are often referred to as ‘B5JSSK nationals’ and are automatically granted permission to enter the UK for a maximum period of six months, during which period they have the Right to Rent a property for that duration.
How to carry out Right to Rent immigration checks
Landlords must check and retain copies of acceptable documents in the presence of the document holder.
They must also keep a record of the ‘check’ date and copies of the documents for 12 months after the letting agreement ends.
If the tenant has been granted permission to rent by the Home Office, they must provide the landlord or letting agent with a Home Office reference number.
This can be entered into the Right to Rent government website, along with their date of birth, to confirm their immigration status.
A person's Right to Rent status can also be verified with the Home Office by calling their Landlords' Helpline on 0300 069 9799.
If you’re a landlord who doesn’t want to get embroiled in the latest immigration red tape, Garness Jones Residential is happy to handle the Right to Rent checks for you.
No hassle. No fuss. No stress. No administration headaches.
For details about the service we can provide, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01482 566057 for impartial and professional advice.
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