Ina Iteva

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Zahra Shah

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Private landlords and right to rent checks – an update

Brexit / 17 May 2019

In our recent article for private rented sector landlords, we mentioned the Right to Rent regime which has applied in England since February 2016.  The Home Office has now issued an announcement advising landlords and letting agents to expect right to rent checks for European Economic Area (EEA) nationals to change after 1 January 2021.

Issue
The Immigration Act 2014 requires landlords and letting agents of residential property to carry out immigration status-related right to rent checks on all prospective tenants, regardless of nationality.  Failing to carry out these checks could lead to a £3,000 civil penalty.  Carrying out right to rent checks for EEA nationals and their family members will change after Brexit.  So far landlords and letting agents have been unsure of the immediate impact these changes will have for existing and prospective tenants.

Key dates
The Home Office announcement was made on 13 May 2019.  The proposed changes will take non-retrospective effect on 1 January 2021.

Impact
Landlords of residential property and their letting agents should know:

  1. There will be no change to the way EU, EEA and Swiss citizens prove their right to rent until 1 January 2021, even in a ’no deal’ Brexit.
  2. There will be no need to retrospectively check the status of EU, EEA or Swiss tenants or their family members who entered into a tenancy agreement before 1 January 2021.
  3. There will be no need to check if new EEA and Swiss tenants arrived before or after the UK left the EU, or if they have status under the EU Settlement Scheme or European temporary leave to remain.

The Home Office will soon specify what documents will be required to carry out right to rent checks for EU, EEA and Swiss citizens after Brexit.

Action
Undergo a thorough audit of your existing right to rent check records and update them to ensure compliance.

Given the tightening immigration situation in recent years, it is more likely that the Home Office will impose higher penalties on landlords and letting agents.

You can find out more about checking your tenant’s right to rent here.

We can assist you with property and immigration queries within and outside the Brexit context. If you have any questions, please do get in touch.

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