Right to Rent – new year, new rules for residential landlords

Those with an interest in the private rental market will know that the right to rent pilot scheme has been running in Birmingham and surrounding areas for over a year.

With effect from 1 February 2016 it will be rolled out across the UK. Landlords of private rental properties will be required to check the immigration status of potential tenants before renting a property to them.

The only people with a right to rent will be:

1. Citizens of the Uk, EU or Switzerland; or

2. Those with a “right to rent” (a person does not have a right to rent if he or she requires leave to enter or remain in the UK or if they have leave but it is subject to conditions preventing them from occupying property).

At least 28 days before renting a property the landlord (or its appointed agents) must check original documents of all adult tenants to ensure that they have a right to rent. Records must be kept and periodic checks carried out thereafter,

A full breakdown of the rules and steps that landlord are required to take is set out on the government right to rent website: https://www.gov.uk/check-tenant-right-to-rent-documents

Given the ever increasing amount of red tape that seems to be attaching itself to the private rental market, coupled with changes to the SDLT regime from next year, one would be forgiven for thinking that the Government is seeking to discourage potential landlords from entering the market. It is certainly becoming more expensive and more difficult to ensure that all obligations are observed. Despite the odds the feedback we are getting from many of our investor clients is that they won’t be put off and additional expenses will simply be factored into their  business plan. Property investment is a long term, not a short term, game.

You can be fined up to £3,000 for renting your property to someone who isn’t allowed to stay in the UK.