Residential Landlords to be required to check Tenants’ Visas

06 January 2016

The government has announced that from 1 February 2016 all landlords of private residential properties in England will have to check that new tenants have the right to be in the UK before renting out their property (“right to rent”).

Landlords will have to check the immigration status of prospective tenants (and other authorised occupiers or lodgers) to ascertain whether those parties have the right to occupy the premises before granting a tenancy (or sub-tenancy). Landlords must also make sure that someone’s right to rent does not lapse. Breaching the prohibition could lead to a civil penalty of up to £3,000.

When a prospective tenant presents evidence that they have the right to rent for a time limited period, landlords will need to carry further checks later in the tenancy.

When carrying out the initial check, landlords should note the expiry date of the person’s right to rent and then diarise a follow-up check for a date shortly before the expiry date, or 12 months from the date of the initial check, whichever is longer. If a tenant states at the time of a follow-up check that they have made an application to extend their stay and are awaiting a decision, the landlord may request that the Home Office carry out a right to rent check.