Right to Rent explained


While the thought of being a landlord and bringing in rental income every month is appealing for many people, it can be a difficult role with a lot of regulations and rules to follow. Many people are unaware of the rules and regulations surrounding property letting and there are often changes, updates and new laws to follow. Landlords need to be aware of the Right To Rent scheme, and this guide will provide you with everything you need to know.

What is the Right To Rent Scheme?

Only people who have the right or permission to be in the United Kingdom have the right to rent property legally in the United Kingdom.

The scheme was introduced by the Home Office in late 2014 and after an initial trial period, it has been rolled out from the 1st of February of 2016 across the country. The Right to Rent scheme has made it compulsory for landlords to review potential tenants ID and documents to verify that they are legally permitted to rent property in the UK.

What should a landlord check in the Right to Rent scheme?

A Right to Rent check should start by verifying the adults that will live in the rental property, as their only or main home, and then should continue with the landlord requesting to view original documents that state the tenant is legally permitted to be in the UK. This should be carried out in the presence of the tenant. The identification of everyone aged 18 or over should be verified but if a tenant is approaching the age of 18, a landlord should always verify their documents.

The landlord should ensure that the documents are genuine, by examining the photograph on documents with the person and ensuring that the same DOB is present across all presented documents.

The landlord should then make a copy of all of the documents and then retain a copy of these documents, noting the dating when the documents were checked.

Why do I need to carry out these checks?

The importance of carrying out these checks and properly referencing documents lies in the punishments that can be applied if the Home Office find that you have allowed an illegal migrant to let your property. Landlords who are found to have let their property to an illegal migrant, they may face a civil penalty to a value of £3,000.

Factors that are included in determining the value of the penalty include whether the offence is a first offence and whether the property is being let to a lodger or as a private letting.

The landlord holds the ultimate responsibility to vet tenants and obtain documents, however many landlords may feel that this is too much of a responsibility or undertaking for them. This is why many landlords will be pleased to know that they can enlist the services of letting agents or property management companies to carry out the verification process.

If a landlord decides to use a reliable agent to carry out this work, they should look to draw up a written agreement which places the responsibility onto the agent or property management firm.

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