As of 6th of April 2022, new laws were introduced in England that affect landlords and subsequently any prospective tenants seeking to rent residential properties in England.
If you’re a residential landlord in England, you need to be versed in the new Right to Rent changes in order to avoid being fined. If you’re a tenant, then it’s helpful to know why those checks are in place. So, read on, and learn everything you need to know about this legislation.
1. The New Laws
From 6th April 2022, legislation requires all landlords in England to determine all prospective adult renters’ immigration statuses before leasing them the property using a newly digitised government system. Previously, physical document checks were allowed, but that has changed.
Non-compliance penalties are steep, ranging from £1000 for a first offence right up to an unlimited fine and even a jail sentence.
Landlords and letting agents can visit the Gov.UK website to use its Right To Rent Online Checking Service to view any prospective or existing tenants’ statuses. No physical documents will need to be checked.
As of the 6th of April 2022, lettings agents and landlords must use this online Right To Rent Checking Service for holders of Biometric Residence Cards and Permits.
2. Which Checks Must Be Carried Out?
After 6th April 2022, landlords and lettings agents in England are no longer be permitted to accept somebody’s Biometric Residence Permit or Card to carry out a manual check for Right To Rent. However, no retrospective checks are required for cardholders who have used their physical document previously to prove that they have a Right to Rent.
Nevertheless, if letting agents and landlords do decide to carry out an online check retrospectively on a tenant and discover that one of their existing tenants no longer have the Right to Rent, a report must be made using an online form to the Home Office in order to maintain their statutory excuse against prosecution.
From that date, too, letting agents and landlords in England were permitted to use providers of certified ID document validation technology services to execute a digital check on Irish or British citizens holding a valid British passport or an Irish passport card.
The reason for this change lay in the government’s aim to move away from their current system which is heavily reliant on tenants proving that they have a Rent to Rent by providing physical documentation, and to move towards a system that is more streamlined and digital.
If you are a prospective tenant or landlord in England, call us on +44 20 3989 8010 to chat to a friendly member of our team for advice.