By way of reminder, on 1 February 2016 the right to rent immigration checks scheme will go live across the country. This means that all landlords in England will be responsible for checking that new tenants are allowed to be in the UK before renting out their properties.

Right to rent was introduced in the Immigration Act 2014 as part of the Government’s policy to curb illegal immigration. The Act includes new measures to prevent people who are in the UK unlawfully from accessing key services, including private rented accommodation. The right to rent scheme was first piloted in the West Midlands in December 2014. Despite the scheme being controversial, the Government has pushed ahead with a national roll-out of right to rent on 1 February.

A list of tenants in the following types of housing which will notrequire a right to rent check:

  • accommodation involving local authorities
  • social housing
  • care homes, hospitals and hospices and continuing healthcare provision
  • hostels and refuges
  • accommodation tied to employment
  • all halls of residence (whether the landlord is an educational institution or private accommodation provider) are exempt from the scheme, as is any accommodation provided for students directly by a higher or further educational institution. Residential tenancy agreements are also excluded where a student has been nominated to occupy the accommodation by a higher or further educational institution, or a body established for charitable purposes only.

The penalty for renting out accommodation to someone who is not entitled to be in the UK is £3,000 per illegal tenant.