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Landlords to Carry Out Right to Rent Checks

With effect from 1st February 2016, all private landlords in England will have to check new tenants have the right to be in the UK before renting out their property.

The new law will mean that private landlords, including those who sub-let or take in lodgers, must check the right of prospective tenants to be in the country or face penalties of up to £3,000 per tenant.

Right to rent was introduced in the Immigration Act 2014 as part of the Government’s reforms to the immigration system. The first phase was launched in parts of the West Midlands, and the latest announcement is the next stage of the scheme’s national roll out.

The phased introduction of right to rent was to allow time to assess how the measures work in practice and to carry out an evaluation, the results of which have now also been published.

Under right to rent, landlords should check identity documents for all new tenants and take copies. The Government says that the scheme has been designed to make it straightforward for people to give evidence of their right to rent and a range of commonly available documents can be used.

The checks are backed up by codes of practice – including guidance on avoiding unlawful discrimination which was drawn up with the assistance of the Human Rights Commission.

If a potential tenant has an outstanding immigration application or appeal with the Home Office, landlords can apparently conduct a check on that person’s ‘right to rent’ via the Landlords Checking Service.

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