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The monthly magazine providing news analysis and professional research for the discerning private investor/landlord

Right to Rent Scheme

Tijen Ahmet, Immigration Solicitor at SA Law comments

The Immigration Act 2014 introduced provisions for all new tenancies in England from February 2016. The 'Right to Rent' scheme essentially makes it a duty for landlords to conduct immigration checks on adult occupiers of private rented properties. There are exempt properties under the scheme, such as NHS hospitals, care homes, social housing, non-private student accommodation, certain leases involving mobile homes and long leases. Unless exempt, the consequence of failing to carry out proper checks could result in liability to a civil penalty of up to £500 for a lodger in a private household and up to £3,000 for an occupier in private rental accommodation. The Home Office follows a prescribed framework when considering a landlord's liability to a civil penalty.  

The increasing concern with the scheme is that the majority of landlords, specifically those in the buy-to-let division, still do not fully understand their obligations under the scheme. While the Home

Office has published a 'Code of Practice' detailing the acceptable documents as evidence of the 'right to rent', a Residential Landlords Association (RLA) survey revealed that 44% of landlords have expressed they would only accept documents that are familiar to them - which seems reasonable since they are not immigration experts.

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