Since February 2016, Landlords and Agents in England have been required to conduct Right to Rent checks to ensure that their tenants are living in the country legally. As a landlord you risk a fine or even a prison sentence if you let your property, or room and cannot prove the tenant’s status. So it’s important that you know your responsibilities.
If you’re looking for a useful tool to to ensure you’re complying with all of the industry regulations for Right to Rent checks you should take a look at CheckDocs. All you have to do is enter a photo of the relevant documents and CheckDocs does the rest, uploading the tenant’s details online, making it easy for you to complete the check. You can select Right to Rent checks within the Rentr app so all of your Right to Rent worries can be taken care of.
Who do you need to check?
All occupants over the age of 18 must be checked at the beginning of the tenancy even if: they are not going to be named on the tenancy agreement; if there is no tenancy agreement; or if the tenancy agreement is not in writing. This includes lodgers and sub-letters so don’t be caught out!
You don’t need to conduct Right to Rent checks for tenancy agreements for social housing, care homes, hospices or hospitals, hostels or refuges or mobile homes.
There is also no need to check tenants if they live in accommodation that is provided as part of their job (tied accommodation) or by a local authority.
How to do a Right to Rent Check
Up to 28 days prior to the start of the tenancy you will need to know how many adults (over 18s) you will have living in your property and ask to see original documents that prove their Right to Rent in England. For a full list of documents that can be used as proof of Right to Rent click here to go to the gov.uk website.
To check the documents you need to verify that:
- The documents are originals;
- They have permission to stay in the UK;
- That the pictures on the documents are of the tenant;
- The names and dates of birth are consistent;
- The documents don’t look damaged or like they have been altered.
If your tenant doesn’t have the right documents for you to complete the check satisfactorily you must use the landlord’s checking service.
Follow up checks
If an initial check shows that your tenant only has limited leave to remain in the UK you are responsible for doing follow up checks to see that they are still eligible to rent in England. If your tenant no longer has the Right to Rent then it is the landlord’s responsibility to inform the Home Office. CheckDocs has a feature which flags Right to Rent checks that need to be followed up to ensure that you complete the check before the deadline.
If your tenant no longer has the Right to Rent in England
If the Home Office contacts you or your tenants to say that someone living in the property doesn’t have the Right to Rent, you are obliged to take reasonable action to evict the tenants. You must follow the correct legal process for eviction and a court order is usually needed.
Why Choose CheckDocs?
CheckDocs streamlines this process for you by scanning the uploaded documents for the relevant information, inputting and saving it with the picture of the original documentation for your records. CheckDocs also provides a report of each check which can be emailed to the tenant or downloaded to be saved elsewhere.
You must keep copies of the documents for at least 12 months after that tenancy ends or for your records because you may need to prove that you have undergone the checks. Save room on your computer by using CheckDocs cloud storage facility.
Don’t get caught out!
Getting Right to Rent checks wrong can result in an unlimited fine or even a prison sentence. Here are a few extra things you need to be aware of:
The checks need to take place within 28 days of the beginning of the tenancy;
Landlords must check all new tenants regardless of whether they are British citizens or not;
If you own a property that already has tenants you need proof that their previous landlord did the check and you will be responsible for future checks;
Be mindful that Right to Rent checks must be carried out 28 days before a tenancy begins and this may be a problem with student tenants. Recent changes have been made which allow students to request a letter of exception from their universities;
If you’re using a letting agent, make sure that they are doing the checks.
Landlords and letting agents alike can use CheckDocs. Whether you need to conduct checks for one tenancy or for hundreds. Are you a Landlord?… Register directly on our website or download the App today!
For Letting Agents: Please contact us for a quote and to get set up.
Check out the website for more info www.CheckDocs.co.uk.