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Lettings News: What does the ‘right to rent’ mean for landlords?

Ahmed Khalil of Khalil Properties wonders whether the ‘right to rent’ legislation is fundamentally wrong.

What is a ‘right to rent’?

A new law affecting both tenants and landlords is already being trialled in the West Midlands, and it is set to roll out to the rest of the UK in 2015. The Immigration Act requires landlords to check whether prospective tenants are living in the country legally. What’s more, it threatens any landlords who do not carry out these checks with a £3,000 fine.
The ‘right to rent’ is strictly available to legal residents in the UK: the burden of enforcing this new decree falls on landlords.

Is this right?

Several questions are raised by this, and it looks unlikely that they will be answered adequately before the law is applied nationwide.
Should it really be the duty of landlords to enforce immigration policies? What effect will this have on a landlord’s selection of prospective tenants? What will it mean for the housing prospects of both legal and illegal immigrants? How will the landlords’ new duties be communicated?
In relation to the final point, the current answer is a helpline and the usual find-it-yourself online documentation; the onus is on landlords to find out for themselves.

‘Right to rent’ checks

Landlords are used to undertaking checks.
Tenant checks can cover areas such as previous accommodation, employment, finance and character. The difference is that you carry these out for your own security. The ‘right to rent’ checks are simply another burden on landlords: there is no carrot here, but just a £3,000 stick.
Under the new law, landlords (or their agents) will have to see ‘evidence’ before they grant a tenancy. This applies to all tenants above the age of 18. In addition, records of these checks must be kept during the tenancy and for at least twelve months after it has ended.
A recent survey published on Propertywire.com found that in a trial scheme in the West Midlands, nine out of ten landlords didn’t fully understand the immigration checks. Whether fair or unfair on landlords, the new law is coming. It’s time to put yourself in the picture.

Will life ever get easier for landlords?

At Khalil’s we work hard so you don’t have to.
With so many new burdens being placed on landlords you may be looking for someone else to take the strain. Our Guaranteed Rent scheme leases your property from you and pays you rent every month, regardless of whether the property is occupied.
We handle all the checks, jump through the legal hoops, find tenants, manage relationships and keep all the paperwork. You just sit back, knowing your money is coming in and your investment is in safe hands. Come in and talk to us about how life could be easier.
For more information, call Ahmed Khalil on 01273 573960, visit Khalil Properties at 124 Lewes Road, Brighton, or find us online at www.khalilproperties.co.uk