Expat Landlords Must Check Tenants Right To Rent

Expat buy to let landlords renting out homes in England have to check new tenants have the right to rent a home before letting them move in from February 1, 2016.

The checks should include anyone living in the home aged 18 or over even if they are not named on a tenancy agreement.

Expat landlords who do not make the checks face fines of up to £3,000.

Landlords also face fines for allowing tenants without the Right to Rent to stay in a rented home.

Checking the right to rent

The law demands landlords or letting agents must:

  • Identify anyone living at a buy to let home or shared house in multiple occupation (HMO) who is aged 18 years old or over
  • Check original documents allowing them to live in England in the potential tenant’s presence. Any form of copy document offered by the tenant does not count as a Right to Rent check

Acceptable Right to Rent check documents are listed in this Home Office guide

  • Ensure the documents are not out of date
  • Check names, spellings, pictures of the holders and dates of birth.

If any names are different on the documents from those given by the tenants, ask to see proof of the name change, such as marriage certificates or a divorce decree nisi.

Reject any documents that are damaged or that look like someone has tried to change photographs or personal details

  • Copy the identification and make a note of the date they were inspected

Make copies in a format that can’t be edited, such as a photocopy

Copy every page of passports and any visas or official documents giving someone the right to live in the UK.

Copy both sides of biometric residence permits

  • File the copies for however long the tenancy lasts plus 12 months

When to check the right to rent

Landlords or their letting agents have to make Right to Rent checks within 28 days before tenants take on a private rented home.

Right to Rent documents need rechecking if the tenants right to stay in England runs out during the tenancy or 12 months after the last check.

If the tenant’s right to rent runs out, landlords can evict them and must tell the Home Office

Letting agents can make the checks for landlords.

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