Landlords required to make ‘right to rent’ checks from 1 February 2016

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By Linda Mulrooney

From 1 February 2016 all private landlords granting tenancies of less than 7 years are required to carry out ‘right to rent’ checks against new tenants and occupiers to ensure that they have the right to occupy the property for the full term of the tenancy.

The right to rent checks must be made on all tenants named in the tenancy agreement as well as all adults living in the property, including family members and domestic staff. This does not, however, include non-rent paying occasional guests.

The checks are required to establish the tenant’s immigration status. A person will be disqualified from occupying property if they require leave to enter or remain in the UK and do not have it or if the leave is subject to conditions that prevent them from occupying the property.

Landlords and/or their agents will need to see the tenant’s original identity documents and will need to satisfy themselves that the documents are genuine. It is also prudent to meet the tenants in person.  The checks should be made against tenants and occupiers of new tenancies on or after 1 February 2016.  It is not necessary to carry out checks on tenancies that commenced before this date or on renewal of a tenancy as long as the new tenancy is between the same parties and there has been no break in the tenant’s right to occupy the premises.

The Home Office has published a useful user guide for landlords “Right to Rent Document Checks”. If you have any particular concerns about a tenant a further check can be made via the Home Office Landlords’ Checking Service.

Linda Mulrooney is a solicitor in the Property department at Barker Gotelee.

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