New requirements for residential landlords to ensure that a tenant or lodger can legally rent a property are coming into effect. The new requirements requires private landlords, including those who sub-let or take in lodgers, to check the right of prospective tenants to be in the country to avoid being hit with a penalty.
The changes will start where a tenancy agreement commences on or after 1 February 2016 in England. As part of the introduction of the first phase of the scheme, the changes already came into effect in Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley or Wolverhampton on 1 December 2014.
Announcing the scheme, Immigration Minister James Brokenshire said:
‘Right to rent checks are quick and simple, and many responsible landlords already do them as a matter of routine. We are providing landlords in England with all the advice and support they need before the checks go live on 1 February 2016.
The new rules are part of the Immigration Act 2014 which introduced measures to reform the immigration system. Right to rent is about deterring those who are illegally resident from remaining in the UK. Those with a legitimate right to be here will be able to prove this easily and will not be adversely affected.’
Under the new rules, landlords who fail to check a potential tenant’s ‘Right to Rent’ will face civil penalties of up to £3,000 per tenant.
There are a number of steps that must be carried out including checking the original documents that allow the tenant to live in the UK. Whilst not directly related to tax compliance it is important that landlords are fully aware of these new rules.
Adrian Cohen of Sterlings Chartered Accountants