Are your private residential tenants allowed to rent in the UK?

The Immigration Act 2014 received Royal assent on the 14th May 2014 and laws are expected to take effect in October 2014. 

Before granting a tenancy, landlords and letting agents will have to make sure tenants and occupiers are living in the UK legally and are entitled to rent a property – or risk a fine of up to £3,000.

This will mean carrying out checks before and throughout the tenancy.

The new laws in brief

The new legislation will affect standalone privately owned properties in the United Kingdom.  It will apply to all new tenancies granted after the date on which the legislation comes into effect.

The indications are that the Act will not be applied retrospectively to existing tenancies although it is unclear what transitional provisions will apply in respect of those arrangements.

The Immigration Act 2014 will prevent any individual from becoming a tenant or occupying a relevant property where:-

  • the tenant / occupier is not a “relevant national” (this has a defined meaning in the Act) and
  • the tenant / occupier does not have a right to rent property in the UK.

What you will need to do

Landlords will now have to check the status of new tenants and occupiers and review these checks on a regular basis throughout the tenancy or occupation arrangement.

It is unclear how landlords will be required to carry out the necessary checks and how often they will be expected to review these. The consultation paper states that it will be a straightforward, inexpensive process, using documents such as passports and birth certificates that non-experts can check.

We will publish further information as and when it becomes available, but do please contact us if you need advice.


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