Landlords and letting agents in the UK are required to conduct an obligatory Right to Rent check under the Right to Rent Scheme, before renting their properties. This is in order to monitor and deter illegal migration in the UK. For EEA nationals, this could be as straight forward as showing their EEA passport or national ID card. However, with the uncertainty which still surrounds Brexit and the future of EEA nationals in the UK once the UK has left the EU (if they do) and whether it will be a deal or no deal Brexit, there are expected to be some changes in the way Right to Rent Checks will affect these EEA nationals in the future.
What is a Right to Rent Check?
Theresa May’s controversial Right to Rent Scheme is part of her wider Hostile Environment Policy. It requires landlords and letting agents to take copies of their tenants’ ID documents such as valid passports or ID cards in order to check their immigration status in the UK. If a tenant is not able to prove their right to rent through a valid passport or ID card, then landlords and letting agents will not allow them to rent a property. Failure to conduct these Right to Rent Checks will result in landlords and letting agents receiving civil penalties including fines of up to £3,000 per tenant or even time in prison. The onus has therefore been placed on landlords and letting agents, to ensure their tenants have permission to be in the UK lawfully.
The Right to Rent Scheme has caused a great deal of controversy because landlords and letting agents have been reluctant to let properties to non-British passport holders, despite being fully entitled to rent, because they are fearful of the penalties they could face. This has therefore led to discrimination against migrants and ethnic minorities. Consequently, it has recently been decided that Right to Rent checks are in fact incompatible with Human Rights Law and plans to roll out the scheme in Wales and Scotland have been halted. Landlords and letting agents should, however, continue to conduct Right to Rent checks on all prospective tenants in order to comply with the code of practice on illegal immigrants and private rented accommodation and the code of practice for landlords: avoiding unlawful discrimination.
How will Brexit impact the Right to Rent Check for EEA Nationals?
Under the Statutory Code of Practice on Illegal Immigrants and Private Rented Accommodation, British citizens, EEA nationals and people who have the right of abode in the UK, or who have been granted indefinite leave to remain or have no time limit on their stay in the UK currently have the unlimited Right to Rent in the UK. Until 1 January 2021, EEA nationals will continue to be able to prove their right to rent in the UK as they do now, such as by showing their passport or national ID card. This remains the same if regardless if the UK leaves the EU with or without a deal. Landlords and letting agents do not need to check if new EEA tenants arrived before or after the UK left the EU, or if they have status under the EU Settlement Scheme or European temporary leave to remain. Landlords and letting agents will also not need to retrospectively check the status of EU tenants or their family members who entered into a tenancy agreement before 1 January 2021.
The Home Office has said that a new guidance on how to carry out right to rent checks from 1 January 2021 will be issued in “due course”.
Using Legal Representation to understand Right to Rent Checks
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 comply with Right to Rent Checks
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.