Residential tenancies and the Immigration Act—'Right to Rent'
Residential tenancies and the Immigration Act—'Right to Rent'

The following Property guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Residential tenancies and the Immigration Act—'Right to Rent'
  • Background—the 'right to rent' scheme
  • Which tenancies are affected?
  • Does an individual have a 'right to rent'?
  • Landlords' duties
  • When must the checks be made?
  • What documents must the landlord obtain?
  • Reporting or removing an individual with no right to rent
  • Civil penalty for non-compliance
  • Criminal offences relating to non-compliance

Background—the 'right to rent' scheme

The 'right to rent' scheme (the scheme) was introduced by the Immigration Act 2014 (IA 2014) as a means to prevent persons with no legal basis of stay in the UK from accessing or remaining in private accommodation in the UK. It prohibits landlords from allowing individuals who are disqualified under these provisions from occupying a property.

The scheme was piloted from 1 December 2014 in Birmingham and Wolverhampton and the Metropolitan Boroughs of Dudley, Sandwell and Walsall, and was subsequently applied across the whole of England from 1 February 2016.

In respect of all tenancy agreements entered into on or after 1 February 2016, private landlords are obliged under IA 2014, s 22 to check, prior to granting a tenancy, whether or not prospective tenants or occupiers are allowed to occupy the property by virtue of qualifying immigration status. Landlords must also ensure that the tenant’s right to occupy does not lapse during the term of the tenancy.

Failure to comply with the right to rent check obligations may result in a penalty notice of up to £3,000 being served on the landlord by the Secretary of State.

Sections 39–42 of the Immigration Act 2016 (IA 2016) contain further provisions which make it easier for landlords to evict disqualified tenants in England, and introduce criminal offences for