Update on the “right to rent”
This briefing paper provides an overview of Right to Rent checks which must be carried out by private landlords/agents in England. The checks were introduced by the Immigration Act 2014. Breaches may, in some circumstances, amount to a criminal offence after changes introduced by the Immigration Act 2016 on 1 December 2016.
Why Right to Rent checks?
As part of Government attempts to cut down on illegal migration, the Immigration Act 2014 introduced a number of measures to restrict access to services for those without a valid right to remain in the UK. One of these measures was a requirement on private sector landlords to check that their tenants’ immigration status does not disqualify them from renting property (i.e. that they have a Right to Rent).
The Government has published a short guide on Right to Rent, along with a Right to Rent Code of Practice and a code of practice for landlords on avoiding unlawful discrimination when conducting Right to Rent checks.
For applicants whose immigration documents are held by the Home Office and are therefore not available, the Home Office has created a Landlords’ Checking Service. This online tool will provide an answer to questions on an applicant’s Right to Rent. If no answer is received from the service within 48 hours, the landlord has a statutory excuse against liability for a penalty.