The Immigration Act 2014 imposed a requirement on all landlords in England to check that new tenants have the right to be in the UK before renting out their property. This is widely referred to as the ‘Right to Rent scheme’.
One of the purposes of the Right to Rent scheme is to ensure that those who do not have permission to be in the UK find it difficult to establish a settled life.
Originally piloted in the West Midlands, the scheme is being rolled out nationally on 1 February 2016.
The scheme makes landlords liable for a civil penalty of up to £3,000 if they allow an adult to rent a property, for any duration, when they do not have the right to live in the UK. The scheme does not apply to children.
The following individuals are regarded as being lawfully entitled to rent a property:
- British Citizens;
- Nationals of an EEA state;
- Nationals of Switzerland; and
- Non-EEA nationals who have permission to reside in the UK.
In order to establish whether or not an individual is lawfully entitled to rent a property, the scheme requires landlords to carry out specific documentary checks. Those who carry out checks in accordance with the requirements of the scheme will not become liable for a penalty in the event that the Home Office alleges that the tenant did not have permission to reside in the UK.
The government has published information to assist landlords and this can be found here.