The Property Ombudsman has issued a warning to letting agents, warning them not to forget their duties under the upcoming Right To Rent immigration checks. These checks become mandatory across England from February 1st 2016.
Christopher Hamer, who is in the final month of his term as Property Ombudsman, has move to remind landlords that in legal terms, the Right To Rent legislation states the responsibilities of checking a tenants’ documents lies firmly with the landlord.
However, Hamer warns that agents face the possibility of having the liability switched to them, should there be a written agreement that they will conduct the Right To Checks on behalf of their client.
‘Agents need to be very precise with the landlord from the outset as to what responsibilities they are taking on in regard to Right To Rent,’ Hamer noted.
‘If the landlord wants the agent to undertake the necessary legal checks, then there must be clear and unambiguous documentation between the parties, stating who has taken responsibility and agents must diligently exercise their duties,’ he added.
Under the Right To Rent legislation, landlords or agents are permitted to check identity documentation for all new potential tenants. These documents include a UK passport, European Economic Area passport or card, residence card or travel documentation, indicating an indefinite leave to remain. Further documents could be a Home Office immigration status document or a certificate of registration or naturalisation as a British citizen.
More information on the Right to Rent legislation can be found here.