UK Relocation: Right to Rent Checks
The UK ‘Right to Rent’ checks took effect across England from 1 February 2016. Under the new rules, prior to renting a property, prospective tenants will have their immigration documents checked to ensure that they have a legal right to reside in the country. This legislation will impact international and UK domestic relocation programmes that include assignees planning to rent in England. For more information, please download Cartus’ latest Mobility Insights: UK Relocation: Right to Rent Checks.
Designed to reduce the number of immigration offenders in the UK, landlords now have a duty to check the immigration status of all potential adult occupiers. These checks must be made within 28 days before the start of a new tenancy.
Impact on Relocation
Here are the key points to remember when relocating assignees who plan to rent in the UK:
- Organisations that have set up a corporate lease are considered the ‘tenant’ and the assignee is the ‘sub-letted tenant’. Sub-letted tenants are still required to undergo a Right to Rent check, and therefore it is the organisation’s responsibility, as the ‘tenant’, to carry them out. It is worth noting that Right to Work checks are equivalent to the Right to Rent checks, so therefore, if a single assignee is relocating (without dependents), then the organisation will have the correct documents on file.
- Checks last for 12 months or until expiry of the assignee’s permission to be in the UK, whichever is later. So this means assignees can enter into a year-long tenancy agreement, even if their visa is only valid for six months, which is useful for short-term intra-company transfer moves, expected to be extended at a later date.
- If the assignee is not in-country when they find a property they like, a tenancy can be agreed in principle via video link. The assignee will have to have their visa with them, to show the landlord on camera. (Landlords may not be willing to do this in fast moving markets like London, as there are plenty of prospective tenants available in-country.)
- When it is not possible to secure a tenancy in principle, give assignees time to find and secure a rental property once they have relocated to the UK. Allow an appropriate amount of time between the date of arrival and the start date in the office.
- All adult dependents will undergo the same Right to Rent checks as the assignee. Therefore, any spouse/partners relocating (and children 18 years or over) will need a valid visa and if the adult dependent plans to relocate to the UK half way through the lease, then they will still need to have a Right to Rent check before they move in with the assignee.
To save time once they have found a suitable property, assignees should be prepared and have their immigration documents before going on home finding trips. Organisations should ensure that all tenancy agreements are reviewed to see which party has responsibility for conducting the checks, particularly important if the organisation has set up a corporate lease. For more details on these proposed changes to UK immigration, download our Cartus Mobility Insights or contact a Cartus representative at firstname.lastname@example.org.