From the 1st February, England’s 1.8 million private landlords face being charged with a £3,000 fine unless they check whether their tenants are documented immigrants and can legally rent their residential property. Civil penalties will be issued for every tenant living in a property with no right to rent in the UK.
Landlords in England must check the nationality and visa status of anyone over 18 living at the property, within 28 days of their moving in. This is the case irrespective of whether the individual in question is a party to the written tenancy contract. Landlords must check all adults living at their property, which includes viewing the original documents sanctioning the tenant to live in the UK, verifying the authenticity of that paperwork, ensuring that visa’s remain valid and details such as dates of birth match in all paperwork produced. Records will also need to be retained confirming when checks have been carried out and copies of relevant documents taken.
If a tenant sub-lets a property without a landlord’s knowledge, then the tenant will become liable for carrying out all relevant immigration checks on the sub-tenants.
Should it transpire that a tenant’s permission to stay in the UK is limited in time, landlords will receive a civil penalty unless they make a further check either up to 12 months after their previous check, or before the date of their tenant’s right to stay in the UK ends. If a tenant does not pass a further check and can no longer legally rent property in England, landlords are obliged to inform the Home Office or receive a fine. Landlords can also evict their tenants.
Housing agents managing a property can carry out the immigration checks on behalf of the landlord, but need to have an agreement in writing.
If you have any doubts as to your obligations as a landlord or indeed a tenant, contact Headleys by phone, emailor via Facebook in order that your rights and obligations are fully protected.