Landlords: How to Verify Immigration Status and Avoid Penalties

Landlords and agents must verify the immigration status of the adults who will be living on the property before the tenancy begins. This process is a legal requirement in England, and if landlords fail to comply, they can be fined up to 3,000 pounds sterling per adult. Social housing, convents, monasteries, nursing homes and shelters are exempt from these requirements. To avoid penalties, landlords must obtain the original documents, verify that they are authentic and make a clear copy of each document, in accordance with the official code of practice for landlords. To avoid discrimination, you must verify the right to rent of all your tenants, regardless of whether you think they are British citizens or not. Manually verifying a tenant's right to rent requires landlords to request the original documents (not copies) from each of their tenants over the age of 18, showing that they have the right to rent in the UK.

Landlords can also ask their leasing agent to carry out the checks on their behalf, but this must be done in writing. In cases where doubts arise about a potential tenant's right to rent, landlords should consult the Landlord Verification Service for verification by the Ministry of the Interior. This service will charge landlords for a certificate of verification showing that tenants have the right to rent. It is important to note that landlords must prove the right to rent of all potential tenants, regardless of their nationality. This will help protect them from accusations of discrimination. Overall, it is essential for landlords to understand their responsibilities when it comes to verifying immigration status. By following these guidelines and consulting with the Landlord Verification Service when necessary, landlords can ensure that they are compliant with the law and avoid costly penalties.