As a landlord renting property to an adult, have you fulfilled your obligations in verifying their right to rent in the UK?

The Government has announced a big increase in punishments for landlords who let people labelled as ‘disqualified persons’ live in their property as their main home. A disqualified person is defined as an individual over the age of 18 lacking legal immigration status in the UK. The requirement to conduct right-to-rent checks originates from the Immigration Act 2014, imposing a duty on landlords and agents to verify the immigration status of potential occupants at the commencement of the tenancy.

Penalties for an initial violation have surged, potentially resulting in a fine of £5,000 per lodger and £10,000 per occupant, marking a significant escalation from the previous fines of £80 and £1,000.

People who do this more than once will be faced with a fine of £10,000 per lodger and £20,000 per occupier. In the most serious situations, allowing someone who is disqualified to rent a property is considered a crime. This could lead to a maximum prison sentence of five years.

The importance of compliance cannot be overstated. If you are a landlord, you will have statutory defence and be safeguarded against severe penalties if you ensure that you carry out your responsibility to carry out identity checks on everyone renting the property who is over 18 and who is renting the property as their main residence and do this at the beginning of the tenancy.

Citizens in the UK

If you are a tenant with a British or Irish passport, then you can prove that you have the right to rent by giving your landlord a copy of the original document. However, your landlord needs to check the original document in the presence of the prospective tenant. Your landlord also needs to have a copy of the original document and write down the date that the check was carried out. Or you can use an online service provider to do the check instead.

Citizens outside the UK

Those who are citizens from outside the UK can prove their right to rent by supplying their original immigration documents.

This means providing a passport that shows you’re allowed to stay in the UK for a certain time, giving the landlord a share code, or proving you have settled or pre-settled status. You can find out more about which documents you need to show by checking here.

Follow up the checks:

If you are a landlord, you have additional responsibilities to carry out further checks for any of your tenants who have a limited right to stay in the UK. These further checks must be conducted either 12 months after your last review or near the end of your tenant’s UK residency permission. Any evidence of their ongoing right to rent should be duplicated and provided to you. Neglecting to perform these follow-up checks puts the landlord at risk of incurring the serious penalties outlined earlier.

For more information about this, please email will.oakes@attwells.com

Our blogs and articles are correct at the time of writing.
These have been created for marketing purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice.
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