Guidance for landlords: UK Government’s ‘right to rent’ scheme
The ‘right to rent’ scheme came into force on 1 February 2016, following a pilot scheme in the West Midlands.
It is almost certain that this scheme, established under the Immigration Act 2014, will make it more difficult to rent private accommodation for those who do not have a right to remain in the United Kingdom.
The potential traps for landlords are numerous, including inadvertently accepting fake IDs, missing time limits, failing to keep the documentation proving the right to rent for 12 months, non-compliance with the Data Protection Act 1988 in relation to that material and potential discrimination claims.
If landlords wish to pass responsibility for rent checks onto letting agents as part of their due diligence on prospective tenants then they should ensure that this is clearly agreed as part of their contract with the agents. However, it has been suggested by some in the industry that landlords should exercise caution when dealing with companies offering to carry out bespoke immigration checks on their behalf.
It is easy to anticipate the extra paperwork and the threat of potential fines increasing the costs burden on landlords, which in turn is likely to lead to rental increases.
Whilst fines are currently the sanction for failures to comply with the new rules, the parliament is considering further sanctions, including prison sentences of up to five years.
Landlords who have not already done so must establish procedures to deal with the scheme.
For more information or guidance about this, please contact:
T. 020 7227 7476
This briefing is for guidance purposes only. RadcliffesLeBrasseur accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any action taken or not taken in relation to this note and recommends that appropriate legal advice be taken having regard to a client's own particular circumstances.