‘Right to Rent’ Rules and Other Pre-Tenancy Agreement Requirements

Residential Tenancies - News Article

From 1 February 2016 onwards it is a criminal offence under the Immigration Act 2014 for a Landlord (‘L’) to let a property to a Tenant (‘T’) unless L has carried out prior checks that T has a right to be in the UK.

Failure to comply with the legislation may lead to a conviction with a maximum fine of £3,000. L must therefore be satisfied that T is entitled to be in the UK by T producing appropriate documents for this purpose. L will need to meet with T personally or alternatively L’s agent may do so on behalf of L and the required documents or combinations of documents must be presented and checked by L, copied and dated, and retained by L.

The documentation which is acceptable for the purposes of the Act is set out in detail in the Home Office Advice Leaflet: ‘Right to Rent Document Checks: A User Guide’ issued in February 2016. This is available to download online.

A reminder that in addition to the ‘Right to Rent’ rules any L granting a Tenancy must comply with the following further requirements:

If a rent or deposit is being paid by T to L, then L must provide to T the prescribed information required under the Tenancy Deposit Scheme. It isnecessary for L to have an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) provided in respect of the property and must provide a copy of the EPC to T.

Smoke alarms must be fitted to all living areas and carbon monoxide alarms in all areas/rooms containing solid fuel burning appliances.

T must be given the current version of ‘How to Rent – The Checklist for Renting in England’ which is again available to download online from www.gov.uk.

A further recent change to legislation provides that a Notice requiring T to give back possession of the property at the end of the term can only be givenafter the expiry of the first four months of the term. Previously many Ls would hand to T the Notice requiring possession – known as a Section 21 Notice – at the same time as entering into the Tenancy Agreement.

This had the benefit of L knowing that the Notice had been given and therefore that T would have to vacate at the end of the term. Accordingly if L now wishes to ensure that the property is recovered at the end of the term then L must remember to serve a Section 21 Notice not earlier than four months after the commencement date of the term. The Section 21 Notice gives T two months Notice to hand back possession expiring at the earliest at the end of the contractual term.


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