On Tuesday 20th October 2015, the Home Office announced that the Right to Rent Scheme will be rolled out on 1st February 2016 across all of England. All private landlords letting property in England will have to check the immigration status of prospective tenants before agreeing to a new tenancy.
According to the Government website:
“In most cases, landlords will simply need to check the tenant’s passport or biometric residence permit. For the majority of landlords it will take a matter of minutes and they won’t need to contact the Home Office.
In a limited number of cases, where tenants do not have their documents due to an ongoing Home Office application, landlords can request a check using the online form. The checking service will then provide a yes or no answer within 2 working days to confirm whether they can let to a particular tenant.
The checks are straightforward and quick, but if landlords need more information, they can go to GOV.uk and search for ‘right to rent’ or call 0300 069 9799.”
This is already being trialled by landlords in Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton who must find out if someone can rent private residential property in the UK.
“This includes private residential properties for all people aged 18 or over (including house guests, lodgers and sub-tenants) who will use the property as their main home.
You only have to do this check for new tenancies which started on or after 1 December 2014.
If you’ve bought a property that is already occupied by tenants you should see if a check has been carried out. You’ll be responsible for carrying out further checks on your tenants.” (also taken from the Government website)
So how do you credit check a person who hasn’t lived in this country? The RLA and ARLA have both produced a factsheet to help their members through the process.
Matt Downie, spokesman for homeless charity, Crisis said: “It is deeply troubling that in the pilot area, six of the local charities surveyed said that people they represent had become homeless as a result of the scheme, while seven indicated that people with the right to rent were struggling to find accommodation.”