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Compliance update - Right to Rent

The Right to Rent Code of Practice, part of the Immigration Act 2014, prohibits landlords from renting their property to people who do not have the right to stay in the UK. This is to ensure that those who are lawfully resident in the UK can access the limited amount of housing available. Landlords must carry out checks, or arrange for their agent to carry out checks, to ensure that their prospective tenants have the right to live in the UK before establishing a tenancy agreement with them. If a prospective tenant has a visa or other time-limit on their legal right to stay in the UK, it must last at least as long as the initial tenancy. The Right to Rent Code of Practice does not apply to those under the age of 18.

Civil charges of up to £3,000 can be brought against a landlord who fails to ensure that their tenants have the right to rent in the UK.

Landlords and agents must take care not to discriminate when they check someone's eligibility to live in the UK. Consistent, transparent and non-discriminatory practices must be used, such as confirming the 'right to rent' of every single prospective tenant, not just those who the landlord or agent thinks may need to prove their legal residency status.

A prospective tenant who has recently migrated to the UK and has fully documented permission to live in the country must not be treated differently to another prospective tenant who was born and raised in the UK with a UK birth certificate and passport.

The landlord or agent must check prospective tenant's original documents in the presence of the document holder so that the validity of the documents can be verified. Every tenant and every occupier aged 18 or over, who use the property as their main home, must be qualified by the landlord or agent as having the right to rent. Dated copies of the documents must be retained by the landlord or agent as proof that the checks were carried out.