The work of a landlord is never dull. Checking your prospective tenants’ right to rent in England has been a legal requirement since 1st February 2016, courtesy of the Immigration Act 2014, but…
… How Do You Check?
A landlord must check identity documents for every tenant – and make copies while the tenant is present – no more than 28 days before the tenancy start date. A range of documents can be used for this purpose: you’ll find detailed information on the Gov.UK website.
Tenants are familiar with providing documents during the referencing process and, essentially, a landlord must confirm to the best of their knowledge that the person making the rental application is the person on the ID.
Sounds simple, but the process can cause confusion and frustration among landlords who feel the added burden of assuming the role of an immigration officer, so…
… Why Comply?
It is your legal obligation to make sure your tenants have the right to rent in England for the duration of the tenancy. Failure to carry out the check and prove you have done so for ALL of your tenants carries a potential fine of £3,000 per tenant. Not a small amount for a few minute’s work!
Platinum Property Partners (PPP) offers support that helps take away the confusion and frustration, ensuring that their landlords are up to date with legislation and have the simplest ways of staying compliant.
Rachel Lewis, PPP’s lettings advisor, has a few tips to share with you:
1. Copies of ID can be used during the referencing process but you must make sure you physically see the ID of your tenant with the tenant present prior to signing the tenancy agreement.
2. You can use your camera phone or a photocopier to document the ID. This must be kept securely on file for 12 months after the end of the tenancy.
3. Many tenants have visas and an array of documents allowing them to rent in England. If you are unsure of the validity of any document, you can check using the Home Office Right To Rent Check.
4. You must keep a record of who completed the Right To Rent check, the date it was completed, and you should diarise any relevant dates if the check identified time restrictions.