The Home Office’s Right to Rent Scheme has now been in operation for quite some time.  The basic position insofar as the Home Office are concerned is that those who are lawfully allowed to be in the UK have a right to rent and those who are not lawfully allowed to be in the UK do not have the right to rent property.  Right to rent checks are required to be undertaken by Landlords, Agents or Householders who are letting privately rented accommodation including those who are taking in a lodger.

Insofar as the check itself is concerned, this is to make sure that the prospective tenants or occupants have a right to rent.  If the required check is not undertaken and the occupier has no right to rent, then there can be a civil penalty to pay.  A check does not need to be undertaken against an occupiers children if they are under the age of 18 at the time the tenancy begins and in terms of the mechanism itself, the Landlord is required to obtain and check the prospective tenants original acceptable documents before allowing them to take up the tenancy and live in the property.  The Landlord should make a legible copy of the required document and ensure that it is dated.  The required documentation should be retained for the duration of the tenancy and for 12 months after the tenancy ends.  The Landlord will need to be mindful of all relevant GDPR provisions surrounding the retention of the tenant’s documentation.

In March of this year, the High Court ruled that the checks were certain to cause Landlord’s to discriminate on racial and nationality grounds.  The High Court stated that the Government had not justified such discrimination because there was no evidence demonstrating that the checks were effective in achieving the Government’s aim of preventing illegal immigration.

In the same month, the Immigration Minister provided a statement to the Houses of Parliament in which she confirmed that the Government had been granted a right to appeal the decision.  However, readers should be aware that all of the current obligations on Landlords will continue to apply unless and until the Government’s appeal is heard or until it changes its policy.

For advice on this or any other immigration matter, please do not hesitate to contact Sohan Sidhu.

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