New UK law forces expat landlords to check tenants right to rent

Published:  16 May at 6 PM
Want to get involved? Become a Featured Expat and take our interview.
Become a Local Expert and contribute articles.
Get in touch today!
A new UK law which came into force on February 1 this year forces expats renting out buy to let property in the UK to undertake confusing documentary checks.

The law may prove to be yet another imposition on UK expats who choose to invest in buy to let properties in their home country. Landlords, or their letting agents, must check a raft of original documents confirming prospective tenants’ rights to live in the UK and identifying all those over 18 years old living in either single or multi-tenancy accommodation. Copy documents are not acceptable.

The Home Office guide to acceptable right to rent documents is divided into three groups, with the first group dealing with passports for those with an established right to abode such as EU citizens, EEA or Swiss citizens, and also includes those with Home Office issued ‘right to remain’ documents. The second group, two of which must be inspected and which must contain the full name of the rentee, includes a UK birth or adoption certificate with the name of at least one parent, a full UK driving license, social security benefits paperwork and much more.

If the potential tenant has been in prison or is on probation, a release letter from the relevant Prison Service issued no more than six months ago must be shown. Other official letters include confirmation of previous address by a named local authority official, an employer’s letter confirming employment and National Insurance number and evidence of a criminal records check.

The list continues for pages, ending in instructions on how landlords should check the required reams of paperwork. The validity and originality of the documents presented must be checked in the presence of the potential tenant, and copies of all must be kept, including copies of every passport page along with a dated declaration that the process has been completed. If name changes are found, evidence of divorce, marriage, etc must be given.

The checks must take place within 28 days of the date the tenancy is taken up, and follow-up checks must be done to ensure the right to remain and rent is still current. Fines are to be levied on landlords or their letting agents who fail to check prospective tenants or allow those with no right to rent to become tenants.

The entire convoluted process looks to become a nightmare for expat landlords and their agents, and may well result in fewer take-ups of what was once a sensible, productive expat investment strategy.
Like this news?

Comments » No published comments just yet for this article...

Feel free to have your say on this item. Go on... be the first!

Tell us Your Thoughts On This Piece:

Your Name *
Email * (not published, needs verification one time only)
  • Facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • RSS feed
  • Facebook

Latest Headlines

News Links

News Archive