Does your tenant have a right to rent?

From 1 February, all private landlords in England will have to check new tenants and lodgers have the right to be in the UK before letting their property – or risk being fined up to £3,000 per illegal tenant.

Under right to rent, landlords should check identity documents for all new tenants and take copies within 28 days before the start of a new tenancy. These checks must be made to ensure that anyone aged 18 or over living in the property, whether they are named on the tenancy agreement or not, is legally able to be in the property.

Acceptable forms of identification include passport and biometric residence permits. The documents need to be original, belong to the tenant and be in date. Landlords will need to ensure copies are kept for the duration of the tenancy and for up to one year afterwards. 

A further check may be necessary if the time your tenant is able to stay in the UK is limited. Failure to do so can result in a civil penalty fine.

What to do if your tenant doesn’t pass a further check:

If you find out your tenant can no longer legally rent property in England, you must notify the Home Office immediately.

Tara Kelly, Head of Savills Winchester Lettings, says: “At Savills, we undertake these checks as part of the service we offer our landlords. This legislation is further evidence of the increasingly litigious nature of the industry as a whole and the need for landlords to use a reputable, ARLA registered lettings agent to handle the letting of their property.”