Are you still making your checks?

image of UK passport
Apr 22 2017

Are you still making your checks?

In case you were not aware since 1st December 2016, landlords who knowingly let to a tenant who has no right to rent in the UK are committing a criminal offence. Any landlord or their agent doing this will be prosecuted under the Immigration Act 2016, with the potential punishment of a fine and up to five years in jail.

Now from speaking to the odd landlord some are not aware that making the eligibility checks are not just a one off at the beginning of any tenancy. A landlord or their agent must run another check on their status just before the expiry of their right to stay or 12 months after the last check, depending on which is longest.

When it comes to making those checks here are a few tips:

  • Find out who will be living there as their only or main home
  • Check their original documents and make sure they are the tenant’s and haven’t been altered, that all the information (e.g. date of birth and photo) is consistent on all and that if any names are different, that they have the supporting documents, such as a marriage certificate
  • Keep a note of the date you make the check
  • Take copies of all the documents and keep them for the duration of the tenancy plus one year
  • Or you can ask your managing agent to run the checks for you, but you should put this in writing

If the tenant has a limited time they can stay in the UK, you need to:

  • Run the check in the 28 days before the tenancy begins
  • Run another check on their status just before the expiry of their right to stay or 12 months after your last check, depending on which is longest
  • If they don’t have a right to stay at that point, you must tell the Home Office

What do you need to do should you need to remove a tenant who is disqualified from having the right to rent?

Immigration Act 2016, states that the landlord can terminate the tenancy agreement by giving the tenant (or all tenants if it is a joint tenancy) notice to quit in writing. They must set a date for the end of the agreement, which must not be less than 28 days from the date of notice.

However, this is on the condition that the Secretary of State has given one or more notices in writing to the landlord which, taken together, identify the occupier/s of the premises, and state that they are disqualified as a result of their immigration status from occupying premises under a residential tenancy agreement.

If you are unsure if your tenant has a right to rent give us a call or if you need to remove your tenant we can advise on the best legal process for your case.

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