Fresh guidance updating how landlords can ensure that they are compliant with the Right to Rent requirements in England has been released by the Home Office.
The new guidance provides specific advice for tenants who may be nationals of Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and the United States (known as B5JSSK nationals), who are planning on staying in the UK for up to six months.
B5JSSK nationals have been able to use electronic gates with biometric passports at UK airports since 20 May 2019, and therefore do not receive a stamp in their passports. But this has led to some confusion about evidencing their leave to enter the UK because their passports lacked visual endorsement by the Border Force.
After the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) revealed that government guidance ‘could leave landlords open to prosecution’, the latest advice released by the Home Office now confirms that nationals from these countries will need to provide a landlord with their passport and evidence of the date they last travelled to or entered the UK.
However, it is worth pointing out that this requirement is waived for short-term lettings of less than three months where it is clear that such individuals intend to use the premises as holiday accommodation and will not remain in the property for a longer period.
The Home Office has confirmed that the following items can be used as acceptable evidence of entry to the UK:
An original or copy (hardcopy or an electronic copy) of a boarding pass or electronic boarding pass for air, rail or sea travel to the UK, establishing the date of arrival in the UK in the last six months
An original or copy airline, rail or boat ticket or e-ticket establishing the date of arrival in the UK in the last six months
Any type of booking confirmation (original or copy) for air, rail or sea travel to the UK establishing the date of arrival in the UK in the last six months
Any other documentary evidence which establishes the date of arrival in the UK in the last six months.
Non-visa nationals are granted leave to enter the UK for up to six months from the date of their arrival. However, landlords who properly conduct right to rent checks will obtain a statutory excuse for 12 months and must schedule a follow up check before the 12-month period lapses.
Statutory excuses exempt landlords from receiving a civil penalty if they can show that they have carried out Right to Rent checks, including any follow-up checks if necessary and made any required report to the Home Office. It’s important that landlords keep evidence of Right to Rent checks on file throughout the tenancy, and for 12 months after the tenancy ends, after which time data should be securely disposed of.
If a potential tenant is unable to present any of the above evidence, a landlord can use the Landlord Checking Service to confirm Right to Rent eligibility.