As a landlord, it is essential that you check the right to rent of your tenant. There are a number of steps to be completed in order to make sure the checks you make are satisfactory.
It is important to first find out the adults whose main home will be your property. They will be your tenants. You can identify whether your property will be the main home if they reside there for the majority of the time, their partner and/or children live there as well, most of the belongings they have are kept there and their doctor and council have them registered at the address.
In normal terms, the right to rent Plan makes it crime for a landlord to let a person who does not have a ‘right to rent’ to inhabit premises in England. A person will have an ‘unrestricted right to rent’ or a ‘time restricted right to rent’ relying on their conditions. If a landlord does permit a person to settle who doesn’t have a right to rent, they may be responsible to a fine of up to £3,000 per adult in occupation.
You will then need to request and check their original documents that prove their right to reside in the United Kingdom. Make sure you check any documents are valid and in date and that they belong to your tenant(s). You will need to satisfy yourself that the documents have are authentic. Always cross-check dates of birth and photos. If there are any discrepancies with names, make sure documents are provided to show the reason for a change of name – e.g. an official marriage certificate.
Obtain copies of the relevant documents and keep a note of the date the checks were made.
It can be useful to use property inventory software, examples of which can be found on inventorybase.co.uk, to create, manage and store right-to-rent reports.
As stated in the RLA website, non-compliance with the rules is a criminal offence that can lead to five years imprisonment. You could also receive a fine, so it is imperative that, should the documents not be in order, you carry out some further investigations.
The landlord’s checking service will be able to tell you if the tenant is able to rent even though they do not have the correct documents if their documents are held by the Home Office or if the Home Office has an appeal or outstanding case with the tenant or if the Home Office have given consent for the tenant to rent. Once the information is requested, you will be able to find out the situation in two working days. The relevant reference number for the Home Office will need to be acquired in order to utilise the service.
Where ALL settlers have no right to rent, the Secretary of State may post the landlord a notice recognizing all occupiers and the landlord may work on the occupiers a notice on a given form. The notice must offer at least 28 days notice to the settlers that their tenancy is to end. The notice is then claimed as if it were an order of the High Court.