Right to Rent checks will be in effect across England starting February 1, 2016, according to a Home Office announcement. Residential landlords will be required to check and copy prospective tenants’ documents to ensure they are legally present in the country before renting out property. Conducting such a check is a defence to a violation of the law. Those who fail to conduct a check may face a fine of up to GBP 3,000 per tenant.
Legislative provisions that could extend the scheme to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are under debate in Parliament, however it is highly unlikely that the provisions will be approved before February.
Right to Rent checks, introduced by the Immigration Act 2014, were designed to make it more difficult for immigration offenders to stay in the UK. The first phase was launched in parts of Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton on December 1, 2014.
More information about the Right to Rent check rule is available on the Home Office website.
What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals
Foreign nationals should be prepared to present their immigration documents to their landlords. This is in addition to the responsibility of foreign nationals to present their passports to employers for right to work checks.