The government introduced the Immigration Act in 2014 and from 1 February 2016 it is a legal requirement for all new tenancies beginning on or after that date that landlords check whether their tenants – including lodgers – have the right to reside in the UK.
Failure to comply with these regulations could lead to civil prosecution and a fine of up to £3,000 per tenant. There are plans to make failure to comply subject to criminal proceedings which would mean non-compliance leading to a criminal record.
Are there any exemptions?
Yes. Social housing, care homes, student halls of residence and holiday lets are exempt.
What do I need to do?
You must check the right to reside of all tenants within 29 days of the tenancy agreement being signed. The government has published a handy guide on how to conduct a tenant check.
For time limited right to reside occupants – broadly, non British citizens, non EC nationals and non Swiss nationals – you also need to carry out a further check just before the expiry of their right to reside or 12 months following your previous check, whichever is the furthest away.
What if I cannot determine if my tenant has a right to reside?
If a tenant has not provided sufficient ID or right to reside documentation or their right to reside has expired then you will need to contact the Home Office.
In the first instance, you can use an online check here. This will check the Home Office’s database for documentation held by the government.
If this is still returned as negative then you will need to call the Home Office Landlord Helpline on 0300 069 9799.
What if my tenant doesn’t have a right to reside?
You must tell the Home Office by calling the number above. You can choose to evict your tenant if you want to but you must follow the rules for evicting tenants.
Give us a referral and we will donate a goat to a family in AfricaFind out more