December 2015: From 1 February 2016, all private residential landlords will have to check that new tenants have the right to be in the UK before renting out their property. The Immigration Act 2014 prohibits private landlords of residential properties from allowing certain people to occupy those properties based on the immigration status of the occupiers.
Landlords will have to check the status of prospective tenants, and other authorised occupiers, to ascertain whether those parties have the right to occupy the premises before granting a tenancy. Landlords must also make sure that someone’s right to occupy the premises does not lapse. Breaching the prohibition could lead to a civil penalty of up to £3,000.
A person is disqualified from occupying property under a residential tenancy agreement if they:
- Are not a “relevant national”, which is:
- a British citizen
- a national of an European Economic Area State; or
- a national of Switzerland.
- Do not have a right to rent in relation to the property
A person does not have a right to rent if they require leave to enter or remain in the UK and do not have it, or they have leave but it is subject to conditions that prevent them from occupying the premises.
The content of this update is for information only and does not constitute legal advice. It states the law as at December 2015. We recommend that specific professional advice is obtained on any particular matter. We do not accept responsibility for any loss arising as a result of the use of the information contained in this briefing.