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Newsflash: ‘Right to Rent’ updated Home Office guidance

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06/11/2019

Since October 2014 residential landlords have been required to make sure that their tenants have a ‘right to rent’ under the Immigration Act 2014. The process by which a landlord should establish whether a person has a right to rent is dealt with in statutory guidance: ‘Right to rent immigration checks: landlords’ code of practice‘.

In October 2019 the Home Office published a new factsheet to help landlords undertaking right to rent checks for prospective tenants who are nationals from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the USA, who intend to remain in the UK for less than six months. Those persons will have a right to rent, but where they have entered the UK through an ePassport gate, their passport will not have the requisite endorsement.

The Home Office factsheet therefore confirms that, to evidence the right to rent, landlords should take copies of the tenant’s passport and of the travel document via which the tenant entered the UK (such as a boarding pass or airline/rail/boat ticket) and which confirms the tenant’s date of arrival in the UK.

If a prospective tenant wishes to rent for more than six months, the landlord will need to see a visa and a biometric residence permit.

If a prospective tenant wishes to rent for less than three months, then this can be classified as a holiday let, removing the need for right to rent checks.

At the date of writing, Parliamentary approval to amend the statutory guidance to reflect these changes has not yet been obtained. Pending such approval the Home Office has also stated that it will not seek to impose any penalty or take prosecution action against landlords who have complied with the new factsheet guidance.

In related news, Walker Morris understands that the UK Government’s appeal against the High Court’s ruling, made earlier this year [1], that the right to rent is incompatible with human rights legislation is due to be heard in January 2020.

Walker Morris will monitor and report on any developments.

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[1] See Home Office statement, 5 March 2019

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