Protect yourself, by making sure your tenants are living in the UK legally and have a Right to Rent

  • UK landlords are now required to check the immigration status of their tenants, and face tough penalties if a tenant should not be living in the UK.
  • Care is necessary, to make sure the checks do not break anti-discrimination laws.
  • This is a difficult balance to strike, and our legal advice can help you.
  • Our comprehensive and personalised service eases your burden by making the checks for you and effectively reducing the risk of being fined.

The Government introduced Right to Rent checks on 1 February 2016. The checks mean landlords and letting agents in England face a penalty of up to £1,000 per tenant for failing to monitor their immigration status. Since 1 December 2016, new laws have meant that in some circumstances landlords who breach the right to rent regulations may commit a criminal offence.

The checks place an unfair burden on landlords and letting agents who may lack the knowledge or skills to check if their tenants are allowed to live in the UK. Immigration checks can also potentially flout anti-discrimination laws.

The Right to Rent scheme requires landlords to establish that tenants have a right to be in the UK by taking copies of documents such as passports or identity cards. Strict anti-discrimination laws mean many landlords need to tread a fine line between immigration compliance and avoiding race discrimination. Tenants who are rejected unfairly can sue landlords under the 2010 Equality Act. An award for ‘injury to feelings’, for example, can be in the region of £6,600.

Failure to conduct the correct checks can lead to fines of up to £3,000 for each tenant. Landlords who knowingly rent to people with no right to be in the country can face up to five years in prison. Home Office data has revealed fines were issued to 62 landlords between the start of February and end of September 2016. This is a rate of approximately one every four days. The fines ranged from £80 to £3,000.

Our Right 2 Rent handbook explains the scheme and will help ensure you are protected against a potential fine. We also provide a dedicated advice line to answer any questions you may have about checking a tenant’s documents, how to avoid fines or any other queries you may have about the scheme.

We also offer personalised services to check your tenants’ Right to Rent, saving you the time and hassle of checking every tenant’s documents and effectively defending you against penalties

Our Right to Rent services can help you navigate your way through the uncertainty of the requirements and minimise the risk of being fined.

With expert staff working across our office locations in Southampton, London, Woking, Guildford, Lymington and Richmond, we’re ideally placed to offer specialist support both locally and nationally.

Contact our solicitors

Get in touch with our legal experts for advice.