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.
Yesterday, we held another successful landlord forum at the Council House in Oldbury. Several important subjects were covered – and we will do some individual blog posts over the next week or two to update on these, but possibly the most pressing issue was a short presentation from Sarah Aspinal of the Home Office giving a reminder about the Home Office ‘Right to Rent’ rules.
This is something landlords absolutely must get right if they are to avoid a £3,000 fine. Compressing this into a blog post inevitably means missing important information and I really do urge any landlord to have a look at the relevant pages on gov.uk which give the full details, but I will just try and pick out a couple of Sarah’s key points..
- There is a £3,000 fine per occupant if you break the law
- The rules are easy to follow – there’s plenty of information available online and the Home Office can help you get the checks right. Help is there – both online and through their helpline number, (and having rung their helpline a few times, I can personally vouch that their helpline staff really are very good).
- Some tenants might have restrictions on the length of time they can be in the UK. So it might be fine and perfectly legal to let them move into your property – but – you might need to check after a given period that they have not exceeded the length of time they can legally be in the country. If they are occupying your property, after their permission to stay has expired – let the Home Office know.
- The rules initially only applied in a trial area which comprised most of the West Midlands. From the 1st of February – they will apply nationally.
- The rules are not a reason to discriminate against potential tenants, just because they come from abroad. Don’t lose out and turn someone away who might be an excellent tenant, just because they are not a UK citizen.
We are an independent research company based in England working on behalf of the Home Office. We are currently conducting research on the new right to rent scheme which operates in parts of the West Midlands. Since 1 December 2014, private landlords, and their nominated agents, of properties in Birmingham, Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton, have been required to conduct checks to establish that new tenants have the right to rent in the UK. We would be very grateful if you could give 15 minutes of your time to help us better understand how the scheme is perceived and how it is working.
The survey can be accessed at:
by 31 May 2015.
All responses will be kept strictly confidential and used only as part of our analysis. We will report the findings to the Home Office, but they will not see your response and nobody will contact you about your answers to the survey.
IRIS Consulting Ltd is registered with the Data Protection Information Commissioner (registration number 1530265) as an organisation entitled to hold personal data for research purposes. If you would like to check our credentials, you can contact the Home Office research team (Rebecca Linley at
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You can contact us on 0207 287 0822 if you have any questions or any problems completing the survey.
Thank you for your time.
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New Home office rules which make landlords responsible to check the immigration status of their tenants come into effect today.
They will only affect new tenancies dated from today onwards and at the moment; the rules are effective in the West Midlands region only. Continue reading