There has been much discussion of the new Right To Rent legislation that came into force on 1st February, which makes it illegal to rent accommodation without first ensuring the new tenant is legally allowed to live in the UK, but what is it the offence?
It is allowing the wrong person to live in your property that is the offence not failing to carry out checks.
These checks are a good idea anyway, to ensure the person is who they say they are and has some way of paying rent.
In most cases the simplest way to ensure the potential tenant has the "Right to Rent" is to follow the guidance.
If you wish to take a chance on a homeless person we advise that you do not grant them a tenancy until you have checked their paperwork.
Remember a tenancy can exist without a formal agreement so if there is any doubt about their status you are very strongly advised not to let them in.
The guidance gives various options as to suitable documents you need to see. If they are still struggling to produce these, they will need the assistance of the local authority housing team, a housing charity or a landlord who is 100% confident the person in front of them is who they say they are.
The new Guidance now has more documents and is more user friendly. It also has pertinent FAQs at the end. Find it here:
There is also a specific summary of the law here: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2014/22/section/22/enacted
We have seen many guides from solicitors and industry bodies that are just plain wrong, for example we saw a statement this week that says, "The landlord has to check details of his new tenant" - This is only true if you don't know. If, for example, your new tenant is your cousin who you have known since birth, you know his parents are both English and he has lived locally all of his life - why would you check? The law simply asks that if you don't know the new tenants legal status, then you need to check it.
Written & oral information and advice from the Portsmouth & District Private Landlord's Association is given in good faith, but no responsibility whatsoever is accepted by the Association or it's officers for the accuracy of it's information & advice nor shall the Association be held responsible for the consequences of reliance upon such information.