The "Right to Rent" requirements19/04/16
The Immigration Act 2014 introduced the “right to rent” scheme, which applies to any residential tenancy granted on or after 1 February 2016. The Act places potentially onerous obligations on NHS bodies providing staff accommodation, and it imposes serious sanctions for any failure to comply. In short, the scheme requires landlords of residential premises to check the immigration status of prospective tenants and other occupiers to confirm that they have a right to be in the UK. Landlords in breach can face a fine of up to £3,000.
Where a landlord grants a residential tenancy, it must now:
- Take steps to check the immigration status of prospective tenants and any other authorised occupiers (for example, family members) to confirm that they have a right to rent before granting the tenancy; and
- Ensure that a tenant’s right to occupy the premises does not lapse once the tenancy has been granted (where a tenant has a time limited right to rent, the landlord must check their immigration status not only at the start of the tenancy but also before their time limited right to rent expires, or once 12 months have passed, whichever is later).
These requirements apply to any tenancy granted as the tenant’s only or main residence, and apply to all adults occupying the premises, regardless of whether or not they are named in the tenancy agreement. They do not however apply to children aged under 18, although a landlord may need to seek evidence of the child’s age. Therefore, NHS bodies need to confirm whether or not anyone other than the named tenant will be living at the premises and, if so, undertake the necessary checks for such other occupier(s) as well as the named tenant.
The initial checks consist of the following:
- Identifying all of the adults who will occupy the premises as their only or main residence;
- Obtaining originals of one or more of the acceptable documents for all of the adult occupiers;
- Checking the original documents in the presence of the holders (either in person or via a live video link); and
- Making copies of the documents and retaining the copies with a record of when the checks were made.
How can we help?
NHS organisations operating staff accommodation must ensure that they comply with the requirements of the right to rent scheme in full to avoid possible sanctions. We can assist you to put the necessary arrangements in place to ensure compliance and avoid the time, expense, and reputational damage of enforcement actions under the Act. We are happy to provide free training to NHS bodies which manage their staff accommodation, including on the impact of changes introduced under the Immigration Act 2014.