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Landlord Legal Issues December 2014

Tessa Shepperson of Landlord Law answers your questions

Q. Someone told me that I now have to check prospective tenant's passports. Is this correct?

A. Only if you rent property in the West Midlands. The Immigration Act 2014 introduced 'right to rent' checks where landlords need to check that a tenant is entitled to reside in the UK before renting a property to a tenant.  

These regulations are being trialled in the West Midlands as of 1 December 2014.  So if your property is in Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton, then this applies to you.

You should read the information on the Gov.uk website at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/right-to-rent-landlords-code-of-practice where you will find the codes, an information leaflet and links to a 'right to rent' tool.  You will also find some useful information and a three part information series linked from my Landlord Law Blog post on 3 November 2014.  

It is important that, if they apply to you, you comply with these regulations as if you do not, then you are vulnerable to a £3,000 fine. Note however that you only need to check new tenants, not any existing ones.

Q. My tenant's fixed term tenancy is coming to an end in a few weeks' time.  She does not want another fixed term and I am happy for her to stay on a rolling tenancy - do I have to get her to sign anything for this? If either of us wants to end the tenancy what do we do?

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