As A Landlord, What Tenant Checks Should I Do?
How does my tenant’s immigration status affect my buy to let property?
The Immigration Act 2014 introduced the concept of ‘right to rent’ to the private rented sector. The right to rent requires landlords check the immigration status of their prospective occupiers at the outset of the tenancy. Failure to do so could result in fines for landlords as of February 1st 2016 across England. From December 1st 2016, the government has introduced additional penalties and offences relating to right to rent. Landlords now face potential imprisonment for failure to check the occupier’s right to rent status, so it is even more important that they do it correctly every time.
Which properties does a tenants immigration status impact?
This law applies to all residential tenancies with some limited exemptions for social housing, halls of residence, etc. Almost all private sector landlords will be caught when they have anything from ASTs to lodger agreements. Holiday lets, lettings where it is not the tenant’s main home, tenancies of more than 7 years where there is no break clause for the landlord, letting to students where the education institution has placed the tenant in the property, people whose accommodation is provided by their employer and finally, mobile homes.
What do I need to do to let my buy to let property legally?
Landlords must not authorise an adult to occupy a property as their only or main home unless they can establish the adult has a right to reside in the UK. This means landlords are now required to check the identification of everyone who is over 18 and expected to occupy the property.
Who can I let my property to?
* British citizens; European Economic Area nationals (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.); and Swiss nationals,
* People who have a right of abode in the UK; who have been granted indefinite leave to remain; or have no time limit on their stay in the UK.
How do I check my tenants have a right to rent?
- Establish the adults who will live in the property as their only or main home.
- Check passports in the presence of the document holder.
- Make and retain copies with the date on which the checks were made.
- Keep copies of the documents for 12 months after the end of the tenancy.
Does credit checking help?
Passing a credit check does not mean that the tenant has the legal right to rent but completing background checks on your prospective tenants is helpful in enabling you to reduce the risks you take when letting your property.
Lisa recommends you credit check your tenants (http://www.experian.co.uk/background-checking/private-landlords.html) with an instant report for £18.
Private Landlord Tenant Checks | Background Checking …(http://www.experian.co.uk/background-checking/private-landlords.html)
Completing background checks on your prospective tenants is essential in enabling you to reduce the risks you take when letting your property. Find out more.
As a private landlord, completing thorough background checks informs your decision making process, helping to ensure that you protect your property investment and reduce rental income losses.
The credit check includes:
- Identity Check – this can improve your degree of confidence of an individual’s identity. Checks are made against the electoral roll and can verify up to two previous addresses in addition to their current one
- Adverse Financial Check – adverse checks highlight financial warning signals in a tenant’s background (e.g. CCJs, fraud and other adverse data) that can provide crucial insight into a tenant’s suitability and ability to make rental payments
- Tenant Risk Score – using the results from the identity and adverse financial check the report will provide you with an impartial decision on whether it is advisable to let your property to a specific individual