Right to Rent: A Landlord’s Guide

The Right to Rent legislation was introduced back in February 2016 for landlords. But what is it, what do you need to know as a landlord, and what could happen if you don’t follow the guidelines?

Here’s a quick guide for landlords so you can ensure you are up to date with all of your responsibilities.

What Is Right to Rent?

Landlords are now required to check the immigration status of their tenants in most situations to make sure they are able to legally live in the UK.

Some landlords did this anyway before the legislation came into effect, but since February 2016 it has been compulsory.

How Should You Comply?

Complying with Right to Rent is actually fairly simple for landlords. You just need to carry out a check on the immigration status of your tenant to make sure they are able to live in the UK within the 28 day period before the tenancy begins.

Do You Always Need to Check?

You must check the immigration status of tenants if you are a landlord letting private accommodation or you have a lodger. Alternatively, the estate agent may take over the responsibility for the checks.

The checks must be carried out on all tenants over 18 who use the property as their main home. Landlords must check the immigration status of all the adults living at the property, even those who do not have their names on the tenancy agreement.

How to Carry Out the Checks

To check the immigration status of tenants, first you must find out who exactly will be living at the property. You must then ask to see original documentation that proves they have a right to live in the UK. You must also check that it is valid in the presence of the tenant.

Which documents are valid? They include:

  • British or EU passport
  • EU ID Card
  • Other passport showing the right to live in the UK
  • Certificate of naturalisation
  • Residence permit card

Always take a copy of the documents and record the date you checked them. Also, always make sure you check even if you are certain they have the right to rent to avoid discrimination.

What Will Happen If You Don’t Comply?

If you fail to carry out adequate Right to Rent checks on all of your tenants, you could face a large fine. Depending on the circumstances, this could be up to £3,000. It’s therefore essential that you make all the required checks to prevent this from happening.

Always Know Your Obligations

Landlords have many obligations, and you must make sure you are aware of your responsibilities so that you can fulfil them and avoid fines. Make sure you make all the required checks in the Right to Rent scheme, and get expert advice if you are unsure. You can also see the full guide at the Gov.uk website here.