Right to Rent checks explained

15/03/2021

Life as a landlord comes with many responsibilities to both your property and your tenants. One of the most important responsibilities being Right to Rent checks.

We have put together a series of questions and answers on everything you need to know about Right to Rent checks and what they mean for you as a landlord.

What is Right to Rent?

The Right to Rent scheme was phased in at the end of 2014, when councils in Birmingham, Sandwell, Dudley, Walsall and Wolverhampton tested the effectiveness of the scheme. After an initial six-month review to assess the impact of the Right to Rent Act, it was rolled out nationwide in February 2016.

The scheme requires landlords to check that all tenants who occupy their properties have legal status to live in the UK.

This means that before you can rent a home in the UK, a landlord or letting agent must undertake passport and immigration checks prior to letting out the property.

Right to Rent applies to a range of residential agreements, including:

  • Tenancies
  • Sub-tenancies
  • Leases of less than seven years
  • Sub-leases
  • Licences

Whose responsibility is it to carry out the checks?

The responsibility falls to the landlord to carry out the necessary checks and obtain all relevant documentation from tenants.

However, some landlords may instead choose to enlist the services of a well-respected and trustworthy letting agent such as London Shared.

When working with us, we conduct thorough reference checks on your behalf which include:

  • Previous landlord references
  • Proof of employment (including their employment contract or pay slips)
  • Sighting their passport in the office (in line with right to rent regulations)
  • Visa check (if applicable)
  • Proof of address via bank statement or utility bill
  • Find out more about our comprehensive service offering here.

How do I carry out Right to Rent checks?

There are several types of documentation that are acceptable to complete a Right to Rent check.

Examples of acceptable documentation include:

  • A British or EU passport or National Identity Card
  • A non-EU passport which shows that the holder has been granted unlimited leave in the UK
  • A Home Office Certificate or residence permit card indicating permanent residency
  • A certificate of naturalisation

For more information, view the Home Office’s Guide to Right to Rent checks.

You will also need to do a background check once the above documentation is received. Photographs and dates of birth should be consistent across all documents and match the appearance of the tenant.

Tip: Always ensure you keep a copy of each document with the date you made the check.

Alternatively, if you work with London Shared, we will conduct these checks for you, so you can focus on other matters.

What happens if I fail to comply?

Landlords who do not comply with this legislation risk being charged a fine up to the value of £3,000.

The amount you will be required to pay will be dependent on whether it is your first offence and whether you are letting to a lodger or letting private accommodation.

Landlords are therefore advised to carry out the appropriate checks within the 28-day period leading up to a new tenancy.

If you require assistance on becoming a landlord or carrying out the necessary checks, then why not get in touch with London Shared today?

It is the simplest, most stress-free way to rent out your property in London.

As your dedicated property management company, we will guarantee your rent, furnish your home and find professional tenants to look after it.

You can also take advantage of our free online property rental valuation tool to discover how much your property is worth, you might be surprised!

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