How to conduct a Right to Rent Check in 2021

The purpose of Right to Rent Checks in the United Kingdom is essentially to monitor migration. Landlords and letting agents must check that a tenant can legally rent a property. The check must be conducted before the start of a new tenancy, a Right to Rent Check must be conducted on all private tenants 18 years old and over, even if they are not named on the tenancy agreement, if there is no tenancy agreement or if the tenancy agreement is not in writing. Failure to conduct a Right to Rent Check can result in serious penalties for the landlord or the agent. Our immigration solicitors in London are familiar with the Codes of Practice that landlords and agents must adhere to when conducting a right to Rent Check and are happy to arrange a consultation to discuss the requirements of a Right to Rent Check in more detail.

What is a Right to Rent Check?

Right to Rent Checks are checks conducted by private landlords or agents on new tenants to confirm their identity and to ensure they are lawfully allowed to rent a property in the UK. Usually, checks will include seeing (in-person) and taking a copy of a tenant’s passport and BRP/BRC (if they are not a British citizen). They will also need to comply with date protection laws when storing copies of these documents.

Landlords and agents must not discriminate against any tenant, and therefore even British citizens are subject to Right to Rent Checks in the UK. Landlords and agents should read the Codes of Practice before carrying out any checks on new tenants. Follow-up checks must also be conducted when the tenancy ends.

Right to Rent Checks do not however apply to the following accommodation:

You do not need to check tenants in these types of accommodation:

  • social housing and housing provided by a local authority;
  • care homes, hospices or hospitals;
  • hostels or refuges;
  • a mobile home;
  • student accommodation; and
  • accommodation provided as a part of a job (“tied accommodation”).

How to conduct Right to Rent Checks on EEA nationals and their family members?

Until 30 June 2021, Right to Rent Checks will continue in the same way for EEA nationals and their family members. This includes checking their EEA passport or national identity card, as well as the additional checks for non-EEA family members. It is against the law for landlords and agents to ask EEA nationals to show that they have Settled Status or Pre-settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme when starting a new tenancy.

How to conduct a Right Rent Check during COVID-19?

Right to Rent Checks must still be conducted during the pandemic. However, the Home Office has introduced temporary changes to the way that landlords and agents can conduct these checks from 30 March 2020 in light of Covid-19 restrictions. Under the temporary rules:

  • Right to Rent Checks can be carried out over video calls instead of in-person;
  • Tenants can send scanned or photographs of documents for Right to Rent Checks using email or a mobile app, rather than sending the original ID documents; and
  • Landlords should use the Landlord’s Checking Service if a prospective or existing tenant cannot provide any of the existing documents.

Landlords and agents are required to record the date they made the Right to Rent Check and mark it as “an adjusted check has been undertaken on ‘date’ due to COVID-19”. In circumstances where a tenant is struggling to provide the necessary documents, landlords and agents should contact the Landlord’s Checking Service.  

The Home Office will inform landlords and agents when these temporary measures will come to an end. They should then carry out retrospective checks on tenants who started their tenancy during this period or who required a follow-up check during this period. This must be done within 8 weeks of these temporary rules ending and records must be kept of both the temporary and retrospective checks.

What are the penalties for illegal renting?

Landlords could face up to 5 years in prison and unlimited fines (starting from £1,000 for a first offence) if they rent a property to a tenant who they have ‘reasonable cause to believe’ did not have the right to rent in the UK. This includes if the tenant’s leave to remain in the UK has expired or if they produced false documents. Fines can also be issued if the landlord or agent cannot prove that they had conducted the Right to Rent Check.

It is therefore hugely important that landlords and agent carry out Right to Rent Checks correctly, and report any suspicions or changes in a migrant’s status to the Home Office immediately.

Using our Immigration Solicitors in London to conduct a Right to Rent Check

Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on immigration law and your immigration status ensuring you comply with the Immigration Rules. It is possible to instruct an immigration and visa legal representative to assist you with understanding and complying with the Immigration Rules.

Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject applications which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your application succeeds, all necessary documents must be provided. This can be a significant administrative task and you will need to submit the correct documentary evidence. The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that you comply with the UK Immigration Rules.

Successfully conduct a Right to Rent Check with our Immigration Solicitors in London

Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your immigration status and whether you comply with the Right to Bank Check before your matter even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation of your immigration and visa application and ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.

Our offices are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients.  We are minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.

Preparation is the key to successful immigration applications. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to meet one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation.

Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.

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