22 October 2015
The UK Government has announced details of the new Right to Rent Scheme intended to crack down on illegal immigrants renting private accommodation, which will come into force in February 2016.The Scheme places its core focus on landlords to monitor the legal residential status of tenant, not the letting agent or any relocation provider. But on most occasions the reality will however be that the checking process will be managed by the letting agent and we expect to see many begin to implement their own requirements ahead of the formal introduction of the Scheme, regardless whether the rental contract is made in the assignee or company name.To ensure compliance, relocation providers such as Icon will therefore need to ensure that we provide the correct documentation so that all checks are completed in advance. A valid passport with the correct visa/stamp will need to be present so that these can be presented to the landlord or their agent during the rental process – documentation will inevitably be require before conducting any home searches.Although the Scheme does not come into effect until 1st February 2016 many issues will need to be flushed out over the next few months. But as the scheme is intended to identify individuals who are not legally allowed in the UK or have over-stayed after their right has elapsed, even if the assignee has restricted rights to work, they would still legally be allowed into the UK and will not be affected. Icon CommentWe are already in discussion with the regulatory authorities as well as agents and landlords in London and elsewhere across the UK and it is our understanding that requirements of the Right to Rent Scheme will only apply to new rentals from the live date – 1st February 2016 – and will not be back dated to current rentals. However, speaking to the UK Home Office we can confirm that this will be a requirement when the rental contract is renewed for a second or further year, meaning the landlord/agent will be requesting evidence at this point. This link offers further insight into the rules that UK landlords must follow, and which expands on some of these aspects further and as well as showing clearly the documents that will be acceptable for the assignee to show.We can confirm however that the landlord/agent does not have to complete any further checks if the person has no restrictions on their right to stay in the UK, and is not based on employment restrictions. If the tenant’s permission to stay in the UK is time limited, then the landlord/agent will have to make another check on the tenant by the later date of either:Just before the expiry of date of their right to be in the UK, or12 months after the first checkWe are requesting further guidance from the Home Office and will continue to maintain a dialogue with the leading agents to fully understand how they will be implementing and enforcing the Scheme’s requirements moving forward.If you would like to discuss any aspect of this matter further then please do not hesitate to contact us for assistance.