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Right to Rent scheme introduced

From 1st February 2016, all private landlords, including people who sub-let or take in lodgers, will need to see and make a copy of evidence that any new tenant has the right to rent in the UK.

This includes not just the tenant but any adults who will be living in the property. It does not apply to existing tenancy agreements dated before 1st February 2016.

The process is straightforward and can be carried out quickly - landlords in the West Midlands have been making these checks since October 2014.  Copies of the evidence, for example a passport or a biometric residence permit, must be retained by the landlord.

If a tenant has an outstanding immigration application or appeal with the Home Office, landlords can request a Home Office Right to Rent check which will be returned within two working days.

Landlords who employ a letting agent to manage their properties should satisfy themselves  that these checks are being carried out as part of the service they receive. Civil penalties (fines) can be levied on landlords by the Home Office where these new rules are not complied with.

The GOV.UK website has more information and guidance about the scheme and a code of practice for landlords (see Useful links).