Right to Rent Changes 2021

Keeping one step ahead – changes to European Right to Rent checks.

When England left the European Union, it was common knowledge that it would take time for us to slowly unravel from a system we had been so closely integrated with. When the decision came about in 2016, it was recognised a number of elements would have to adjust, including changing laws regarding general travel, insurance and immigration. As of 1st January 2021, some of these changes came into effect.

The BBC lists these January changes referring to duty free shopping and the alterations to tax when buying or selling goods across borders.[1] Other changes, however, relate to European citizens directly, including various countries now needing visas during trips for extended periods of time, and those residing in the UK needing to apply for a certain status (settled or pre-settled) in order to remain here.

In terms of letting properties, the impact of the 2016 referendum changed the way in which agencies must now carry out a right to rent check. To put it simply, this crucial check (which is enforced by law), is when agencies certify that new tenants have the right to rent property within the UK. As of 1st July 2021, there are now a number of ways in which agencies, such as Parks Letting, carry out this process depending on the tenants passport/ nationality;

  • Circumstances in which tenants are a UK/ Irish passport holder including the Channel Islands, hold visa documentation within a passport or have a visa biometric card, they must visit the letting agency face to face with their original documentation no more that twenty-eight days before the start of the tenancy.
  • Tenants who have been accepted for either settled or pre-settled status, must prove so by providing the agency with their date of birth and a share code which they have obtained from the gov.uk immigration site. This then allows the agent to do a confirmation check of their exact status and how long they have the right to reside in the UK for.
  • Tenants who are either an EU national Biometric passport holder or a Biometric passport holder from any of the following countries (Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, or the US), can prove their right to rent for six months (however they will be able to remain for a year without facing punishment under new government guidelines.) To complete the checks, they will need to meet the agent face to face with their biometric card and proof of entry into the country – usually shown by a boarding pass. For this instance, the six months/one year starts from the day they enter the country.  
  • Anyone who has a valid visa or biometric card which shows the right to reside and work in the UK, again, this category of applicants must be met face to face.
  • Please be aware that on visas with a limited time frame, or not a fully settled status, follow up checks must be completed to ensure the tenants right to rent status is valid for the duration of the tenancy.

It is paramount for Landlords to recognise the importance of these checks and understand that they must be carried out correctly too. If tenants do not comply, then in the eyes of the law, Landlords would have committed a criminal offence in which the punishable outcome is very serious. According to the official Government guidelines, failure to comply is considered illegal renting and could result in up to five years imprisonment and an unlimited fine.[2] Civil penalties vary depending on accommodation type and whether the offence has been committed once or multiple times. For tenants residing in a rented accommodation, Landlords will receive a £1,000.00 fine for a first-time offence, rising up to £3,000.00 for anything further.

If you have questions about anything discussed in this week’s blog or want more information of what we can do for you here at Parks, our friendly and professional team are waiting to take your call.  You can reach us on 01273 202089 between the hours of 9-5.30 Monday to Friday, and 9-1.30 on Saturdays. Alternatively, we can be reached via email; to communicate with our letting director Antony please use antony.rummins@parksletting.com. We look forward to hearing from you soon.


[1] Brexit: Seven things changing on 1 January – BBC News

[2] Penalties for illegal renting – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

By Parks Letting | 12 August 2021

I have been dealing with Parks for over two years now and in that time I have found them incredibly helpful and honest. I would recommend using Parks both as a Landlord and also as a Tenant.

Paul Cronin, Landlord, May 2017

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