In July we reported that the Government will require residential landlords to check if their tenants have the legal right to live in the UK or face fines. See our briefing Checks or Cheques. The scheme is being implemented in phases and the Government has just announced that from 1 December 2014 landlords in Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton should carry out "right to rent checks" before granting new tenancy agreements.

The Government has produced a draft code of practice which includes guidance for landlords affected by the introduction of the right to rent checks. The code of practice explains if a property is affected, if any exemptions apply and how to carry a right to rent check.

In general, landlords with property in the designated area will need to see a UK, Swiss or EEC passport or other prescribed immigration documents for each adult occupier before granting any new tenancy. Copies should be kept as proof of compliance. In some cases (detailed in the code), landlords can ask the Home Office to conduct a right to rent check using an online form.

The Home Office expects to continue with the phased introduction of "right to rent" checks across the UK next year.