Most landlords are well aware of the ‘Right to rent’ rules that were introduced as a part of the last Immigration Act, which made landlords responsible to check that any adult in their properties has a legal right to be in the UK. I won’t re-state the rules here – if you don’t know them already and want to avoid possible fines running into thousands of – please make it your immediate priority to have a look at the relevant pages on gov.uk
But even if you know the rules already, please don’t forget the following: If you have given someone a tenancy, who had an end date to their legal period of stay in the UK and you continue to allow them to occupy your property after that legal stay has expired, you will be in breach of the rules and could be fined. So do ensure that you are up to date with the status of any tenant likely to be affected.
Immigration Enforcement officers are active right now in checking on tenants locally. In fact the blog’s other editor Liz has been involved in joint inspections with Immigration only this month. We aware of quite a few visits they have been making to local addresses and we also know of a few individual tenants who have been creating problems in this area for legitimate landlords who have been trying to do the right thing.
If you have any doubts or concerns about what you responsibilities are, about the checks you need to make or documents you need to ask tenants for, contact the Home Office through the gov.uk pages. Landlords are not expected to be experts on the rules. There is plenty of support for landlords and the Home Office can help you make checks on an individual tenant. So you won’t be left alone. They can also give you advice on how to legally end a tenancy if someone has overstayed or shouldn’t be here.
One important thing to stress is that these rules are absolutely not a reason to discriminate against people. The Home Office are very clear that you have to make the checks on everyone, even if you think that they are UK citizens. The checks are easy to make and the help is there if you need it. If someone is in the country legally, there is no restriction on their ability to rent a home– so there is no need to turn away a prospective tenant simply because they are not from the UK.