The government’s right to rent scheme is now live across England meaning landlords will be required to perform checks on all new adult tenants to ensure their eligibility to rent property in the country.
Right to Rent was introduced in the Immigration Act 2014 and is also applicable to people who sublet their property or take in lodgers.
Landlords who neglect to undertake checks could potentially face a penalty of up to £3,000 per tenant. The scheme has been in operation in the West Midlands since December 2014, with the next phase of a UK-wide roll-out, seeing the scheme extended across England.
Immigration Minister James Brokenshire said: “We firmly believe in creating an immigration system which is fair to those here legally, but firm with those who try to break the rules. That is why Right to Rent is so important.
“The scheme builds on the Right to Work checks that employers have been making for some time, and we know that many landlords already carry out simple identity checks as a matter of good practice.
Landlords will need to check identity documents for all new tenants and make copies. The government say they have collaborated with housing and homeless charities to create a document list, which is hoped will cover different scenarios such as when people do not have the usual kind of identity documents such as passports or driving licences.
Mr Brokenshire commented: “Over the past year, we have taken time to engage with the people who will be affected by the scheme, and carried out a thorough evaluation. The system we have designed is light-touch, and allows those with a legitimate right to be in the country to quickly and easily demonstrate their right to rent.
“We are building on the work started in the 2014 Immigration Act through the new Immigration Bill, which contains additional powers to target unscrupulous landlords by introducing new criminal offences targeted at those who repeatedly fail to carry out Right to Rent checks.”