Right to Rent checks and renewals

Thursday 04 February 2016

ARLA continues to work with the Home Office beyond last week’s rollout date for Right to Rent checks across England.

As agents outside the phase one area implement the new checks on all adult occupiers new questions arise, some of which are answered within the detail of the Code of Practice and some of which demand further guidance from the Home Office.

We now have more clarification on Right to Rent checks in relation to renewal of tenancy agreements. The starting point is Immigration Act 2014 and the Code of Practice:

A landlord is not required to take any action in relation to residential tenancy agreements entered into before that date, or which are renewed after that date if the renewed agreement will be between the same parties and there has been no break in the tenant’s right to occupy the premises.

In cases where renewals have all of the same tenants this is clear, however where a renewal has one new occupier does an agent have to conduct checks on all existing occupiers or just the new occupier?

The Home Office response to this is that if a different occupier is named on the tenancy agreement then it is a new tenancy in terms of the scheme and a Right to Rent check should be made of all occupiers subject to the scheme.

The Home Office have provided further updates to the ID Guidance on gov.uk and this now includes some additional visuals to help agents and landlords in establishing whether documents that are presented are genuine. However there have been significant technical problems with the way that this guidance is displaying and particular issues with printed versions omitting essential information.  If you have copies of the guidance that were printed before Tuesday 2 February 2016 you should re-check against the guidance currently on the site to make sure that you are benefiting from the most up-to-date version.

The Home Office have committed to ARLA that further improvements to the quality of this document will be made and we will highlight this in our newsletters when it happens.

In case you missed it, to reflect the recent updates we have updated our Immigration Act web page and our Right to Rent Fact Sheet. Further updates to Home Office guidance are expected, hopefully taking on board more of our suggestions for improving the guide. We will of course keep you updated via the newsletter as things progress.