Fight for Your Right to Rent

It was recently announced that the trial “Right to Rent” checks being carried out in the West Midlands will officially be rolled out nationwide as of February 1st 2016.

New Right to Rent Rules: The “Right to Rent” checks, as a part of the Immigration Act 2014 will mandate that landlords now have to ensure their prospective tenants have the right to be in the UK before renting, or sub-letting to them. Landlords must have a copy of all tenants’ proof of their rights to be in the UK or they could face a penalty of up to £3,000. The government enrolled a special panel of experts to help evaluate the scheme including the Equality and Human Rights Commission, homeless charity representatives, local authorities and various landlord and letting agents reps. Despite these various evaluations and approval these new checks could spell trouble for both landlords and tenants.

Landlords: A potential loss in business could be a knock on effect from tenants who cannot provide evidence of being allowed to live in the UK. Whilst those who are in the country illegally may be prevented from renting as intended, there will be many potential tenants who are legal UK residents but do not possess a passport or other relevant documents that cost to be obtained. Potential foreign tenants who are looking to secure accommodation may not be feasible clients until their legal documents have arrived with them, delaying business for the landlord. With the risk of a £3,000 fine, landlords will have to be much more diligent than before and look out for fake documentations. The liability to ensure that tenants are legal in the UK still lies with the landlords even if the tenant’s documents have been forged. Ensuring real documents will reduce the risk of a fine but no doubt be of cost to the landlord having to have all documents professionally authenticated.

Tenants: Many potential tenants could face suspicion and prejudice. Despite being legal UK residents if they were seen as foreigners or not typically English, many landlords could be deterred from renting to them if they view them as a potential risk to incur fines. As mentioned previously many legal UK residents may not have a passport or other documentation that is of monetary value, which will be required to rent. With costs and waiting periods for the necessary documents this puts a whole new pressure on prospective tenants looking to rent. Do you think the checks will do more harm than good? Or are you glad to see the government take a firmer stance on immigration? Let us know in the comments section below.