All residential landlords who will enter into a fresh tenancy agreement on or after 1st February 2016 have to follow the new norms. The government is enforcing “Right To Rent” reforms which will check the eligibility and authenticity of a tenant before signing a rent agreement. It is the responsibility of the land owner to check the same.
The salient features
From 1st February 2016, landlords are supposed to follow the following set of rules:
- It should be determined that the property rented by the tenant is the first home or the main home. It means that the tenants spend most of the time in the home and keep the majority of belongings there. They live with the partner and/or kids. They have registered to the doctor with the address and registered to vote at the address.
- It is mandatory to see all documents in original before giving the property on rent. The documents should allow them to rent the same.
- The landlord should see that the documents are legitimate, and the tenant has the right to stay in the UK. The photographs are genuine and belong to the same person.
- The date of birth is available, and it is uniform across all documents.
- The documents are not damaged or forged.
- If there is a change in the name, then it should be supported by a legal document (in original). Examples are divorce decree or marriage certificate.
- If the tenancy is being arranged before the tenant arrives in the country, then it is mandatory to check the documents in original before they start living.
- It is compulsory to keep a copy of each and every document preserved, and the date of recording should be mentioned on it.
- Every page of the passport should be copied. All vital details like nationality, date of birth and photograph should be explicitly visible.
- Entitlement to the right of abode in the UK, work visa, and other endorsements should be copied clearly and explicitly.
- Biometric residence permit should be photo copied from both sides.
- Make two sets of the documents and keep one of them at some remote location like the bank locker. You are supposed to preserve it even after one year from the date the tenant leaves your property
What if the tenant doesn’t pass the check?
You need to inform the Home Office about it immediately. Remember, it is your responsibility, and you may be penalized for it failing to do so. You are not supposed to rent the property in any case. In case the failure happens after one year of the previous contract, you may evict the tenant by following evicting norms. In the case of lodgers, tenancy agreement can be ended if you want. The notice period depends on the type of tenancy. If a tenant sublets a property, then it is his responsibility to do the check. He will be liable to the civil penalties, not the landlord.
Why are the new reforms?
Surely, landlords are required to be prepared for the forthcoming change because it isn’t straightforward. Though the checks are simple, it is critically important to follow each and every norm of it. Anything missed out may cause legal complexities and issues later. Many people do not understand the relevance and importance of it. As per sources, a team of experts has relentlessly worked on every aspect before making alterations. Feedback and remarks were taken on board so that the final draft is lightweight, simple and practical.
Several landlords have been taking a majority of the norms already. Hence, they will not face major challenge in getting adapted to the proposed draft. According to the government officials, Right To Rent reforms are part of the bigger objective of making the immigration system strong, fair and further effective. Since legitimate immigrants have everything asked by the new reform, they will be able to furnish every required detail and not adversely affected in any case. The agenda is to put off the immigrants who don’t have a right to live in the country but do it in an illegitimate manner.
The prototype has been tested before
Right To Rent was introduced in some parts of West Midlands last year. Extension of the same in England is the second phase. The government is determined to do it in the entire UK. It has been cleared by the government that a massive penalty will be imposed if any violation is detected. Reports say that the financial penalty of up to 3000 Pounds per tenant may be imposed, based on the severity of the case. It will be a tough situation for a landlord if someone who is not eligible to stay in the UK has been rented the property.
The government is open for refinement
It has been clarified by the government officials that the reforms are open to change, based on the feedback and remarks received from people. A special consultative panel has been formulized to record the feedback after implementing the first phase of it. Local authorities, trade organizations, and charities are part of it. As per the legal experts, efforts are being made to make the list of acceptable documents simple and practical.
There was a landlord conference held in October 2015 where more than 400 landlords and property agents participated. The Right To Rent reform was a prominent item in the agenda. Interestingly, a majority of the delegates praised the need to carry out checks. Also, they found the process pretty simple and easy to implement.
Since the proposed reforms are backed up by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, it is quite evident that there are adequate measures have been made to avoid illicit favoritism. The reforms will protect the interests of genuine people and keep track of unfair activities. The proposed change will bring transparency and control in the process.