The Right to Rent scheme was introduced in the Immigration Act 2014 to restrict illegal immigrants from accessing the private rental sector in England. Landlords or their agents must check that prospective tenants have the legal right to rent a property by conducting simple checks so that landlords can ensure they will not be liable for a civil penalty. If a landlord is found to be renting to someone who does not have the right to rent and they have not conducted the relevant checks, as set out in the code of practice, they may face sanctions including a civil penalty of up to £3000 per disqualified person. In the most serious cases a criminal conviction carrying a prison sentence may apply.
There are 2 categories of tenants you must check: Those with a limited right to rent (ie. they are on a timed visa) or those with an unlimited right to rent. You can conduct checks on those with an unlimited right to rent at any time before the commencement of the tenancy. You must conduct checks on those with a time limited right to rent no sooner than 28 days before the commencement of the tenancy. There are 2 types of Right to Rent checks a manual document based check and using the Home Office online checking service. Conducting either check will provide you with a statutory excuse. National of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, or South Korea and the USA who are visiting the UK, are permitted to use a combination of their passport and evidence of their travel to the UK, to demonstrate their right to rent. At Northfields we can take care of these checks on your behalf, making the process of letting your home as straightforward as possible.