The Immigration Act 2014 makes it a legal requirement for landlords/letting agents within the private sector to check the immigration status of ALL prospective tenants prior to the start of the tenancy.
Further new Legislation for Landlords and Lettings Agents came in to force on the 1st February 2016 as part of the government’s ongoing immigration system reforms.
What does this mean for tenants?
As a tenant, when asked, you will be required to provide your landlord or letting agent with proof of your right to rent. To comply you should provide your landlord with one of the following documents; UK passport, EEA passport or identity card, permanent residence card, certification of British citizenship or Home Office immigration status document.
So what does this mean for landlords?
If you are required to make a check then you should use the following steps published by the Home Office.
1.Establish which adults will be living in the property as their main home
2.Obtain original versions of acceptable documents for all adult occupiers
3.Check the documents in the presence of the document holder
4.Make and retain copies of the documents with the date on which the checks were made
Many people will have a permanent right to rent and you will therefore only need to check them once prior to their tenancy beginning. However, occupiers with a limited right to rent will need to be checked again to re-confirm their eligibility to remain in the UK.
If they don’t have the current documents to support their stay then you must get them to notify you once they receive them, something that must be completed before any tenancy renewal is offered. If you don’t receive these then you must notify the Home Office for them to arrange eviction of the tenant if necessary.
As a landlord it is important to make note of your responsibilities as failure to comply may lead to fines of up to £3,000 if you are found to be renting a property to someone who is in the UK illegally. Many tenant referencing companies are offering this service; however the agent/ landlord still retains ultimate responsibility for complying. Further details can be found on the Home Office website.