New “Right to Rent” provisions added to Residential Tenancy Agreements and Licences

September 2016

Since 1 February 2016 all residential landlords in England have been required to check the immigration status of their tenants and lodgers to ensure that they have the “right to rent”.

We have updated all of our residential tenancy agreements and licences to include provisions about right to rent checks.

What is the right to rent?

A person has the right to rent if they are a British citizen or an EEA or Swiss national or if the person has leave to remain in the UK. Other people are disqualified from renting property in the UK.

Landlords (or their agents) must obtain documentary evidence of each occupier’s right to rent. Landlords and agents can be fined if they do not comply with the right to rent rules.

More information about how to carry out the checks, including a link to our template checklists, can be found here.

Updates to tenancy agreements and licences

Our residential tenancy agreements and room licences have been updated to include the following provisions:

  • A condition that all adult occupiers have a right to rent at all times during the term;
  • A requirement for the tenant to provide relevant documents to the landlord;
  • A requirement for the tenant to update the landlord if an occupier’s immigration status changes; and
  • A requirement for the tenant to carry out right to rent checks on any subtenant or lodger of the tenant.

Forthcoming changes

The Immigration Act 2016 makes further provision about right to rent checks. The new provisions have not yet come into force. When they do they will:

  • Make it harder for illegal migrants to rent property in the UK by giving landlords new eviction powers.
  • Create new criminal offences for landlords and lettings agents who deliberately and repeatedly let properties to illegal migrants. Guilty parties will face a fine and/or imprisonment.

We will provide further information when these provisions come into force.

The contents of this Newsletter are for reference purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Independent legal advice should be sought in relation to any specific legal matter.

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