Understanding Right to Rent Checks for Landlords

As a landlord, it is important to understand the rules and regulations surrounding right to rent checks. This guide will provide an overview of the right to rent checks, the documents required, and the penalties for not complying with the regulations. In England, private landlords are required to pay the right to rent to all adults in a household when a property is rented or sublet, or when a person is a paying tenant. In some circumstances, housing associations will need to process checks on the right to rent.

A person will have an unlimited right to rent, a right to rent for a limited time, or will not have the right to rent, depending on their immigration status. The Home Office may grant permission to rent to some people who do not have the right to rent. Landlords usually determine if a person has the right to rent by checking their documents or digital status, or by directly contacting the Ministry of the Interior for verification. Some types of accommodation are exempt from the right to rent regime. Landlords must verify the right to rent in a fair, justifiable and consistent manner.

The controls must apply to all potential tenants. When the checks are done, it would be useful for people with little command of English to be accompanied and advised by a third party, such as a friend or family member, a councilor or a charity worker. If you paid rent on time in the past, show them your lease agreement and the rent book or bank statements to prove it. A guarantor is someone who agrees to pay rent if you don't. You can ask your parents or someone else in your family to do this.

Landlords who managed themselves and did not use an agent to help them find their tenants (especially with small portfolios) or who were not part of an organization of landlords owned by them were even less knowledgeable about how to carry out the checks. A short guide on the right to rent has been updated to include right-to-rent checks for citizens of Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and the United States who visit the United Kingdom for up to 6 months. Landlords or agents should not enter into a lease agreement with a prospective tenant until rent-entitlement checks have been completed. The penalties for not carrying out adequate checks on the right to rent can be serious, so make sure you are fully aware of your responsibilities. An exception is made when a lease began before the regulations on the right to rent came into effect, when the new landlord does not need to confirm with the previous owner that he has issued a check on the right to rent. Despite warnings about the dire consequences for those who don't follow the rules, despite the countless thousands of pounds that have been spent on drafting regulations and issuing frequently updated advice on compliance with them, and despite the cost in time and money for landlords, there is little evidence that requirements of the right to rent have had any significant effect on illegal immigration.

By introducing tougher sanctions, the Government hopes to regulate and reduce irregular immigrants renting in England. Check your tenant's right-to-rent reports that before entering into a new lease agreement landlords must verify that all tenants aged 18 and over have the right to rent. If you sublet your property you will be responsible for verifying their right-to-rent status and keeping evidence of this before they move out. This applies in circumstances where at the time of signing a lease agreement, tenants had limited-time rental rights and no follow-up checks were carried out and their right-to-rent had expired at time of sale. Landlords who at any time know or have reasonable reason to believe that someone living on their property has no right-to-rent should make arrangements for ending that person's lease (even if there are other names in lease). Landlords found guilty of not complying with right-to-rent plan will be subject civil punishment. It's less common for private landlords check credit because it can take longer for them find tenants.

The rules on right-to-rent are complex and have changed frequently in recent years due Brexit and more recently Covid crisis.

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