‘Right to Rent’ breaches have resulted in fines of over £654 as imposed by the Home Office.
What is right to rent?
‘Right to Rent’ legislation came into force in 2016 and was introduced under section 22 of the Immigration Act 2014. The legislation specifies a landlord should not allow a potential tenant to occupy their property unless they are a British Citizen, EEA or Swiss National, or has the ‘right to rent’ in the UK.
Eligibility to rent within the UK means potential tenants are lawfully in accordance with immigration laws.
Landlords must check whether a tenant has a ‘right to rent’ failure to do so can result in a civil penalty being enforced.
You can find out more about ‘Right to Rent’ checks here.
Landlord Today reports that no fewer than 405 landlords have been subject to penalties with fines amounting to £265,000 collectively.
Checking the right to rent eligibility of tenants is vital for all landlords. In order to conduct a comprehensive ‘Right to Rent’ check landlords should:
- Obtain a tenants original ‘acceptable’ documents allowing them to reside in the UK
- Check the documents while the potential tenant is present
- Copy and keep the copied documents on file. Record the date the check was completed.
Find out the full rules and ‘acceptable’ documents here.
Right to Rent Legislation to be challenged
The Joint Council of the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) is challenging the immigration checks that buy-to-let landlords are currently required to conduct. The Council believes that the legislation has a significantly negative impact on vulnerable tenants and encourages “systematic discrimination”.
The National Landlords Association’s Director of Policy and Practice said:
“The figures show that landlords are increasingly aware of their responsibilities, but that the scheme has placed an additional cost on an already pressurised sector. It is important to remember that landlords are neither immigration experts nor border agents. The ‘Right to Rent’ scheme has placed an additional cost on an already pressurised sector, while the excessive checks and lack of monitoring may have had harmful consequences for would-be and vulnerable tenants.”
Phillippa Kaufmann QC, representing JCWI, argued that the current policy was affecting those in Britain legally. “Landlords are incentivised by the very nature of the scheme to go down the path of least resistance. If they have someone who comes to them with a British passport, they know they are at no risk of criminal liability.”
The judicial review application hearing took place on Wednesday 6th June. As a result, the application to launch a legal review has been permitted by the High Court.
You can find further details about the legislation and penalties here.