New rules spurs reminder of the importance of tenant checks
The NLA is reminding landlords about the importance of conducting tenant checks shortly before new legislation will require them to check the immigration status of every new tenant.
As of the 1 December 2014 landlords in the West Midlands* will be responsible for carrying out ‘right to rent’ checks in order to identify if a potential tenant has the right to reside in the UK, before they grant a tenancy. If the checks are not carried out landlords could face a fine of up to £3,000.
The new rules, set out in the Immigration Act, will be rolled out around the UK in 2015.
The NLA recommends that landlords always check potential tenants thoroughly in order to reduce the risk of letting to unreliable tenants and minimise the risk of rent arrears. Services such as NLA Tenant Check give landlords the ability to vet their tenants and be confident it has been done to a professional standard. In addition to the checks carried out by a referencing company, the new legislation requires landlords or their agents to check original ID documents in the presence of the holder and retain copies.
Carolyn Uphill, Chairman, NLA said:
“In some areas as early as this December, the Immigration Act will place a legal responsibility on landlords to help prevent illegal immigrants from accessing private rented accommodation.
“It has always been best practice to conduct a thorough check on prospective tenants, but if landlords don’t do their due diligence on tenants they could be in line for a hefty penalty.
“The NLA exists to support all landlords to make a success of their lettings business and to ensure they comply with the law. For further information on this forthcoming requirement, landlords should visit NLA Tenant Check, www.nlatenantcheck.org.uk/righttorent.”