The crackdown on illegal immigration extends to tenants, with all private landlords and letting agents required to check someone has the right to live in the UK before allowing them to rent the property or renew a tenancy.
Failure to carry out right to rent checks could lead to a fine on the landlord of up to £3,000 for every tenant found not to have permission to be in the UK.
The Government says the aim is not to punish well intentioned landlords who inadvertently break the rules, but to stop rogue landlords who knowingly rent to illegal immigrants.
There are two categories of rights: an unlimited right and a time-limited right to rent. If the tenant can prove an unlimited right to rent (for example a British, EU, or Swiss passport), then the landlord can proceed without further concern.
However, if the proved right to rent is temporary (for example a time-limited visa) the landlord needs to carry out further checks after one year or when the visa is due to expire. If they no longer have a right to rent then the landlord must report them to the Home Office.
Penalties may be avoided if a statutory excuse can be established, either by carrying out and keeping records of the relevant checks or reporting suspect occupiers promptly.
We have significant experience in assisting landlords to have the necessary arrangements in place to avoid financial penalties by checking that the tenant, and any other adults who'll be living there, are in the country lawfully.