As of February 1st 2016, the law requires everyone renting out property in England to check whether their tenants are legally allowed to live in the UK.
This applies to landlords and also anyone renting out a room to a lodger. It's just for new tenancies existing tenants and lodgers don't need to be checked.
The law applies to all types of agreement, whether they're written or verbal. Not having a tenancy agreement doesn't exempt you from having to check.
Here's what you need to know. You must check, within 28 days of the start of a new tenancy:
- Which adults (over 18) will live at your property as their only, or main, home. It doesn't matter if they're named in the tenancy agreement or not.
- Original copies of the documents that allow them to live in the UK.
- That the documents are genuine and belong to the tenant. The tenant has to be present for this.
- Make and keep copies of the documents and record the date you made the check. You can be fined up to £3,000 for renting your property to someone who isn't allowed to rent in England.
There's a Home Office guide to checking documents on the gov.uk website, plus full details of how to check, what to do if your tenant doesn't have the right to live in the UK and the penalties for renting illegally.