Landlords and Letting Agents will be responsible for ensuring that all Tenants whom they rent to have the right to rent in the UK. From the 1st February 2016, within 28 days of the start of a new tenancy, the Landlord/Agent much make detailed identity checks for all adult Tenants (aged 18 and over) and all types of Tenancy Agreements- written or oral, corporate or personal.
They must check that all prospective Tenants have valid passports, visas and biometrics to reside in the UK. Copies of this documentation must be obtained by the Landlord/Agent and kept on file. Failure to comply with these checks and renting to someone who is not permitted to live in the UK may result in a fine of up to £3000.
Guidance for checks
The guidance for checks states the following:
- Check which adults will live in the property as their only or main home
- See the original documents that allow the Tenant to live in the UK
- Check that the documents are genuine and belong to the Tenant, with the Tenant present
- Make and keep copies of the documents and record the date the check was made
Some agents will use external agencies to check these and a fee will be charged. Checks should be back within 48 hours.
Landlords/ Agents will need to check that:
- The documents are originals and belong to the Tenant
- Valid visas and permits are shown. This can include temporary visas for 30 days but full visas must be shown as soon as they are issued
- The dates for the Tenant’s right to stay in the UK have not expired
- The photos on the documents look like the Tenant
- The date of birth is the same on all documents and is believable
- The documents are not too damaged and do not look like they have been changed
- If any of the names on the documents are different, there are supporting documents to show why e.g. a marriage or divorce certificate
All assignees, their spouses and children aged over 18 years, must bring their passport/ID with them on the TTA property viewing day. They will need to provide this to the agent of their chosen property at the end of the day, or the next day if possible. This is particularly important when the start date of the Tenancy is within 28 days.
Where the spouse or anyone over 18 years is not able to attend the TTA viewing day, they must provide, in person, their ID and documents prior to the Tenancy start date. Any delay in doing so will hold up the start of the tenancy and the release of the keys.
Some agents may allow identity checks to be made over Skype, but as of yet TTA have not had any experience of this happening with clients. Nonetheless, the agent will still need to see the original documents prior to the start date.
The documentation presentation is only valid for 28 days before the start of the Tenancy. Therefore any documents presented before this are not valid and will need to be re-presented. Assignees may need to stay in temporary accommodation whilst these checks are made and the paperwork finalised.
Visas and work permits may need to be re-checked during the tenancy to ensure that they remain valid. All the information will be held by the agent for 12 months after the Tenancy ends.
If you have any questions about this new scheme, then please do not hesitate to contact us.