Since the introduction of the Right to Rent Scheme in England, landlords are required to conduct an obligatory Right to Rent check before renting their properties. The Right to Rent Scheme was introduced under the Immigration Act 2014 and was further amended by the Immigration Act 2016. Under the 2016 Act, landlords found guilty of an offence under Section 33 could face criminal proceedings as well as a heavy civil penalty of up to £3000 per illegal tenant. Recent statistics suggest that landlords are less likely to consider overseas families coming to the UK and EEA nationals when renting their properties.
Impact of the Right to Rent Scheme on UK landlords
It is clear the thought of being fined up to £3000 per illegal tenant and the possibility of being guilty of a criminal offence has instilled fear into landlords in the UK. Recent statistics show that 51% landlords are more reluctant to consider overseas families coming to the UK as potential tenants as they are worried about the repercussions if issues arise with their visas. Similarly, since the EU referendum, 22% of UK landlords are less likely to rent their properties to European nationals due to the uncertainty surrounding their future in the UK.
In order to successfully conduct a Right to Rent Check, the following steps must be taken by landlords:
- Landlords must establish that their tenants have permission to be in the UK lawfully. This can be done by checking visa stamps in passports or requesting for Biometric Residence Permits:
- All documents must be copied and checked for authenticity and if there are concerns regarding the validity documents then landlords must seek legal advice from immigration specialist solicitors and barristers before allowing their tenants into the property; and
- Check the length of visa/permission to be in the UK and ensure it covers the total period stated in the Tenancy Agreement.
Landlords may not be liable to face civil penalties where they have conducted the Right to Rent Check before issuing a Tenancy Agreement. Landlords will be required to conduct follow-up checks and inform the Home Office if there any changes.
The Future of the Right to Rent Scheme
The Right to Rent Scheme was introduced in England in February 2016 and recent reports suggest that its introduction to the rest of the UK is forthcoming. However, the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has expressed serious concerns on the Right to Rent Scheme. In particular, the RLA are worried about innocent landlords who may be convicted for simple mistakes. After all, landlords are not expected or required to have an extensive knowledge of the UK Immigration Rules. RLA policy director, David Smith has requested for the Right to Rent Scheme to scrapped amd has recently expressed his concerns stating:
The added threat of criminal sanctions is clearly leading many landlords to become even more cautious about who they rent to. “This is a dangerous and divisive policy that is causing discrimination. It must be scrapped.
At present, there are no plans to scrap this controversial scheme and it is likely that the Right to Rent Scheme will be implemented across the rest of the United Kingdom very soon. Therefore, in our expert opinion, it is crucial for landlords to obtain advice from specialist immigration solicitors and barristers.
Successful UK Home Office Right to Rent Check
Our team of experienced and professionally qualified solicitors and barristers will be able to successfully guide you through any relevant process step by step and limit the possibility of failure by complying with the strict letter of the law. Please always call us for a telephone case assessment even if you wish to consider other advisers. If you wish to consider your options, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your matter and if necessary advise you of the next steps you should take in a consultation.
We 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.
We can ensure that you remain compliant with your employer duties and responsibilities. Get in touch with our business immigration lawyers now on 02071830570. You can also reach us via our contact form.