The Immigration Act 2014 introduced a requirement for landlords of private rental accommodation to conduct checks to establish that new tenants have the right to rent in the UK.   

All adult (18+) tenants and occupiers who live in rented property whether private or corporate tenancy agreements both assured short hold tenancy and non assured short hold tenancy will need to be checked.

Checks must be conducted 28 days before the tenancy starts for ALL tenancies starting after the 1st February 2016.

The tenants/occupiers will need the original documents showing their right to be in the UK. Acceptable documentation can be:

  • UK passport
  • EU/EEA or Swiss passport or identity card
  • permanent residence card issued by the Home Office
  • travel document showing indefinite leave to remain
  • visa
  • Home Office immigration status document
  • certificate of registration/naturalization as a British citizen

Greater detail can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/rules-and-acceptable-documents-right-to-rent-checks

This change will have a huge impact on the home search programme service we currently provide to our clients.  The additional compliance requirements will add to the administrative burden of referencing and of course pre-planning for visa documentation. Any relocating employee coming to the UK for a look-see trip prior to having a visa in place will no longer be able to begin the process to secure a property.  This may impact client companies as relocating employees may still require a look-see trip and a further home search trip once their visa has been approved in order to secure a property, making the process more expensive.

Agents will be liable under the legislation to perform references, including visa checks, which will increase the time taken in order to ensure all compliance checks are completed.  Keys will not be released until all checks have been completed, which may have a knock-on effect on the time the relocating employee has to stay in temporary accommodation, therefore increasing the cost.