Do Landlords Have to Check Immigration Status of Tenants?

Landlords and agents must verify the immigration status of the adults who will be living on the property before the tenancy begins. It is illegal to only control people you consider to be non-British citizens. You should not discriminate against anyone based on their place of origin. You must check if you are 18 years of age or older and are paying to use your property as a primary home, for example, if they are tenants, subtenants and paying guests.

The right to rent check involves verifying the immigration status of a potential tenant. It is about making sure they have the legal right to live in the UK. Verification of the right to rent must be done to all adults before the start of the tenancy. Checks apply to anyone living on the property, whether it is listed on the lease or not. It is important to note that checks are still mandatory, even if rented to a family member or friend.

Owners who want to clarify what documents are acceptable or not can consult the Ministry of the Interior website, which includes a “user guide”. When a prospective tenant has a limited-time rental right, checks must be made no more than 28 days before the start of the tenancy. It is important to request and keep proof that a verification has been performed and to determine if tenants with a limited-time rental right require follow-up checks. If the landlord discovers that the tenants are not legally authorized to rent, the Home Office will send him a disqualification notice and he must take steps to end the tenancy. Landlords do not have to prove the right to rent children as long as they are convinced that the children are under 18 when the tenancy begins.

However, it is important to stress that landlords must prove the right to rent of all potential tenants, regardless of their nationality, and, therefore, not be vulnerable to accusations of discrimination. Scanned copies or photos of the originals are not considered sufficient, so it is important to physically check the original documents in person. Check with the Home Office if the tenant is a Commonwealth citizen but does not have the correct documents; they may still have the right to rent in the UK. After the abolition of temporary agreements, those covered by checks made under temporary agreements must be re-checked within eight weeks. Similarly, while landlords can encourage potential tenants to use the online service, it is not possible to insist that a person prove their right to rent in this way.

During this period, applicants who are in the English jurisdiction of the right to rent must meet the requirements of the check and agents must set a date for a follow-up check. James Brokenshire, the immigration minister at the time, argued that these controls were designed to be a quick and easy addition to tenancy procedures. It is imperative that landlords verify immigration status of each and every adult who intends to occupy their property before renting it out. A report by Joint Council for Immigrant Welfare revealed that more than half of landlords surveyed believed that this plan would make them less likely to consider renting out their property to foreign citizens.

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