Immigration Act - Right to Rent

The Right to Rent scheme - which requires landlords or agents to check ID of all prospective adult occupiers - was rolled out in parts of the West Midlands on 1 December 2014 and across the rest of England on 1 February 2016. The rules do not currently apply in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.  

Where an adult occupier has a time-limited right to remain, landlords and letting agents will need to conduct follow-up checks. These need to be made 12 months from the initial check or at the expiry of the individual’s right to be in the UK, whichever is the later.

We have been part of the landlord panel throughout the development of Immigration Act 2014 and Immigration Bill 2015 and have delivered a series of events across England to support letting agents in complying with the legislation.

New Offences in Force from 1 December 2016

The Home Office announced on 2 November 2016 that the date for new offences under Immigration Act 2016 relevant to the private rented sector in England, will come into force from 1 December 2016.

The new measures follow the introduction of civil penalties created under Immigration Act 2014 and aim to: Make it easier for private landlords to evict illegal migrant tenants. Create new criminal offences for rogue landlords and agents who knowingly, or with reasonable cause to believe, let to illegal migrants.

The offences are part of wider Government measures to tackle illegal immigration and protect public services and access to the private rented sector for lawful residents.

Key Points

From 1 December 2016, landlords could be charged with a criminal offence if they know, or have reasonable cause to believe, that they are letting to an illegal migrant.

From 1 December 2016 landlords will be able to obtain a notice from the Home Office to end tenancies for occupants with no Right to Rent.

The vast majority of landlords who are found to be renting to illegal migrants and who have not carried out Right to Rent checks, where the scheme has been implemented in their area, will be dealt with under the civil penalty regime. The new offences will be targeted at the smaller number of rogue landlords who are intent on flouting the law.

Right to Rent Phase Three 

In February 2017 the Home Office held meetings in Cardiff and Edinburgh with stakeholders and representatives of the devolved administrations to begin the process of implementing Right to Rent checks in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. 

ARLA Propertymark board members attended the meetings and represented the concerns of members in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland along with flagging the issues that have been prominent during phases one and two of the scheme. More info...

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Download our fact sheets

Our member-only fact sheet outlines the latest advice around the Immigration Act 2016 and Right to Rent checks

Useful Information

Frequently asked questions 
We have been liaising with the Home Office to get your questions answered.

ID examples for checks
UK Visas and Immigration Enforcement guidance on the rules to follow to check documents with examples of acceptable documents from 1 February 2016.

Our comments on our existing guidance with regards to the Right to Rent scheme 
Read our consultation response looking at the phase three roll out of the Immigration Act.

Our response to the Home Office proposals for an Immigration Bill 2015
Read our consultation response from August 2015 to the Home Office proposal for an Immigration Bill.

What the checks mean for you
This article by the Home Office discusses the Right to Rent checks and what they actually mean for private landlords and tenants.

Evaluation of the Right to Rent scheme: Full evaluation report of phase one
This Home Office evaluation reports on the impact of phase one of the Right to Rent scheme.

Research with landlords, letting agents and tenants
This Home Office report is part of the evaluation of phase one of the Right to Rent scheme.

Mystery shopping to test the potential for discrimination within the sector
This research published by the Home Office tested whether landlords and letting agents discriminated against potential tenants as a result of the Right to Rent provisions of the Immigration Act 2014.


Get in touch

If you have any enquiries about Right to Rent checks you can contact the ARLA Propertymark Legal Helpline on 0330 124 1212 or email Rachel Hartley, Marketing and Communications Manager.