Any prospective tenant today is liable to undergo the tenant referencing process to ensure that their immigration status makes them capable of renting a property in UK.
The ‘Right to Rent’ program is purposed to limit illegal immigration in the country; this is a government policy launched in the year 2014. This program is to held the landlord responsible to restrict all illegal immigrants from having access to the private rented sector and giving higher numbers of housing stock for people legally living within England.
As a responsible estate agent, The Marble Property Group conducts all checks and completes the referencing process for the tenant. At The Marble Property Group, we make sure all tenants are completely referenced in both their legal rights to live in the UK including their capabilities and affordability.
‘Right to Rent’
This ‘Right to Rent’ is a scheme to gauge the tenant’s immigration status weather he has the right to rent a property in England, this will give information if the tenant is lawfully present in England. A permanent Right to Rent, a No Right to Rent or a time-limited Right to Rent is offered to the tenant depending on their immigration status, the landlord is responsible to double check all details and information about the tenant’s immigration status. In children, immigration status is not that necessary and is not required however they are followed up until they turn 18 years old, further checks will then be conducted.
Who has the Right to Rent?
People can have either a permanent and unlimited Right to Rent in England, this scheme is applicable to British Citizens, Swiss Nationals, and EEA Nationals (people originating from Lichtenstein, Norway, European Economic Area). It’s still necessary to conduct rechecks and to make sure they pass all assessments and requirements. The Equality Act 2010 forbids any discrimination to races so landlords are prohibited to do checks and renting to British Citizens alone. Identified nationalities are allowed to enter England with a time-limited visa and gives them a limited ‘Right to Remain’ this scheme is also applied to asylum seekers that are based in UK but has time restrictions with their rights to reside.
Who is responsible to carry out the checks?
The landlord or an assigned agent will be the one responsible to check whether the tenant can legally live in England. In an event that an agent is carrying out the referencing on behalf of the landlord then there should be a detailed details and conditions between the agent and the landlord.
If the tenant named in the agreement sublets the property, even with or without the consent of the landlord it is automatically the tenant’s responsibility to conduct checks on every sub-tenants and all information must be included in the written agreement.
When does the landlord or agent have to carry out these checks?
The ‘Right to Rent’ checks are the first one to be carried out before the residential tenancy agreement is granted. In any instance that is it not possible to carry out the checks within the given time of the tenancy agreement, landlords will then be the one responsible to check the status of the tenant right after the start date provided it happens before they occupy the property. For tenants who have a permanent ‘Right to Rent’ they will only be checked once and this is before they start renting the property.
For a time-limited right to rent, the landlord is required to keep a note whenever the tenant’s time limit ends within 29 days. On the other hand, the tenants can check on the 12 month of the previous right to rent check, this check will determine whether the tenants have the right to remain in the property.
What are the landlord/agent’s legal obligations and what penalties can be imposed for contravening the rules?
New tenancies that started within the 1st of February 2016 up to the last will be affected by the law. Landlords will no longer be required to check status of their existing tenants that stated before the date, and also they will not be required to carry out checks whenever a tenant renews provided that both parties have no changes to the agreement.
A penalty will be given to either the landlord or an appointed agent if they have not fulfill their duties and obligations under The Immigration Act 2014. A maximum amount of £ 3000 will be fined to the tenant, however it is still subject to change and is dependent on the outcome of the immigration bill 2016/2016. A landlord may be penalized with a criminal case if proven to be housing illegal immigrants to the property.