'Right to Rent': Do I need to check UK guest's immigration status?

Starting 1 February 2016, new UK legislation is coming into effect under the Immigration Act 2014 affecting everyone who is renting out accommodation. Landlords are then required to check every tenant’s “right to rent” in the United Kingdom. 

What do I have to do as a landlord or host? 
You need to check that every one of your tenant’s has the legal right to rent and live in the United Kingdom within the first 28 days of their tenancy. The legislation only affects new tenancy agreements which means that any tenants already living in your property will not be affected. 

Can FlatClub do this for me?
Unfortunately, we cannot do this in your place. You are required to check the documents yourself in attendance of the tenant and copy relevant papers. 

How do I check someone's right to rent?
Of course, the most likely document you will ask for is someone's passport. A passport from an EU country for example is proof enough. For other passports, a valid visa is required. The Home Office has released a list of valid documents on their website

What happens if I don’t check a tenant’s right to rent?
In the very unlikely event that an illegal immigrant is found in any of your properties, you could be fined a civil penalty of up to £3,000. The penalty for not checking a tenant’s status is £1,000 for first-time offenders and up to £3,000 for subsequent offences.

What about holiday and short-term lets?
If the landlord concludes that the rental is on a holiday basis then it is not necessary to check the tenant's right to rent. As a general guide, the UK Home Office says anything below three months may be considered as holiday lets and are exempt.

For further information, check the Home Office's guide online and the press release.

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