What this means for landlords, thanks to amends to the Immigration Bill, is an added level of responsibility when identifying and managing tenants. You’ll be faced with more paperwork and should be prepared for how to act if you find yourself faced with prospective tenants who don’t fit the bill.
Simply, landlords will now be required to check prospective tenants’ status ahead of agreeing a tenancy – essentially establishing a ‘right to rent’ – although this can’t be completed any more than 28 days prior to the start of the tenancy to ensure the accuracy of the data being checked. But these changes don’t need to be overly onerous. Here’s our quick overview of what you need to know:
You’ll need to get ‘satisfactory evidence’ of entitlement to live in the UK from all prospective tenants and other adults who would be living with them
- You’ll need to take copies of the relevant documentation and keep it for at least 12 months after the person’s tenancy has ended – this is a legal requirement so don’t think you can cut corners here
- If a tenant has limited leave to live in the UK, you should repeat these checks (probably every year) to make sure they’re still allowed to stay here
- Make sure you see the original copies of all necessary documents – it simply won’t be sufficient to see a copy of a passport or any visa documentation
- You’ll need to be happy that the documentation is genuine – the Home Office will have a phone line available to answer questions about this
- To make sure you don’t discriminate or make assumptions about people’s migration status, you’ll need to do these checks on all prospective tenants, including British citizens and those with the permanent right to live in the UK
- Of course, if at this stage you suspect that the applicant doesn’t have the right to remain in the UK or that the documents that they’ve supplied might have been forged, you’ll need to report them to the Home Office as soon as possible
If you’re a landlord concerned with what this all means to you, drop in to your local Andrews branch – we have five across Oxfordshire. We work in partnership with our landlords to ensure that they’re fully compliant and support them navigating complex new areas of legislation that they need to be aware of. In fact, we’ve already ensured that we’re doing all necessary checks on tenants to determine their immigration status.