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Landlords and property managers in the UK are legally responsible for carrying out Right to Rent checks on potential tenants before they move in. This process is designed to ensure that all tenants have the right to rent a property in the UK and are not living in the country illegally. At the same time, it's important for landlords and property managers to avoid unlawful discrimination. In this article, we'll explore what right-to-rent checks are and why they matter.
Right-to-rent checks were introduced in 2016 as part of the UK government's crackdown on illegal immigration. Under the Immigration Act 2014, all private landlords and letting agents are required to check the immigration status of their tenants to ensure that they have the right to rent a property in the UK. To have the right to rent in the UK, a tenant needs to fall into one of the following categories:
Right-to-rent checks must be done in a way that does not break equality laws, which means landlords, property managers and letting agents must not make assumptions about who has the right to rent. No tenancy may be encouraged, discouraged or refused based on:
There are several reasons why right-to-rent checks matter, both for landlords and tenants.
Firstly, carrying out right-to-rent checks is a legal requirement. If you fail to carry out the checks, you could face a civil penalty of up to £3,000 per tenant. This could be a significant financial cost, especially if you are renting out multiple properties.
Secondly, carrying out right-to-rent checks can help to protect you from potential legal issues. If you rent out a property to someone who is living in the country illegally, you could be prosecuted for knowingly letting a property to an illegal immigrant. This could result in a hefty fine or even imprisonment.
Thirdly, carrying out right-to-rent checks can help to protect your property. If you rent out a property to someone who is living in the country illegally, they may be more likely to break the terms of their tenancy agreement or cause damage to your property. By carrying out the checks, you can ensure that your tenants have a legal right to rent in the UK and are more likely to be reliable and responsible tenants.
Finally, carrying out right-to-rent checks can help to protect your tenants. If you rent out a property to someone who is living in the country illegally, they may be at risk of deportation. This could result in them being forced to leave the property at short notice, which could cause significant disruption and stress. By carrying out the checks, you can ensure that your tenants have a legal right to rent in the UK and are less likely to face these issues.
To carry out a right-to-rent check, lettings managers must verify the identity of each tenant and check their immigration status. You can do this by checking their identity documents (see below), and making a copy of the document. You must also check that the documents are valid and belong to the tenant.
Carrying out right-to-rent checks is a relatively straightforward process. You will need to:
Tenants can also use the gov.uk website to prove their right to rent. For a full breakdown of the right-to-rent process and checks required, please see the right to rent user guide on gov.uk.
Right-to-rent checks should be carried out on all adult tenants (over 18 years of age), regardless of their nationality or ethnicity. You cannot discriminate against potential tenants based on their race or nationality, and must treat all tenants fairly and equally.
It's important to carry out the checks before the tenant moves into the property. If you discover that a tenant does not have the right to rent after they have moved in, you will need to take action to rectify the situation. This could involve serving notice to the tenant or seeking legal advice.
Carrying out Right to Rent checks is a legal requirement for landlords and property managers in the UK. By ensuring that all tenants have the right to rent, you can protect yourself from potential legal issues, protect your property, and ensure that your tenants are legally entitled to live in the UK.
Sturents contract-signing module includes discounted access to credit checks, reference checks and right-to-rent checks. These are done for you automatically and online, and the results are stored securely in your property management dashboard on StuRents.com. Book a demo today and make sure that you understand the process of carrying out right-to-rent checks and carry them out diligently for all adult tenants to avoid any potential penalties or legal issues.
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