Changes to UK Immigration Act to Impact Visa Holders
Compulsory checks by landlords on the immigration status of new tenants are to be introduced across the country from 1 February 2016. The Immigration Act 2014 has been revised and regulations will come into effect requiring Landlords conduct mandatory checks to establish that new tenants have the right to rent in the UK.
Landlords must ask potential tenants/occupiers to produce their original documents showing their right to reside in the UK. The tenant/occupier needs to be physically present at the check. Validity of the documentation needs to be established 24 days before the tenancy starts and Landlords are required to complete a follow-up check every 12 months.
Items to provide on request are UK passport, an EU/EEA passport or identity card or permanent residency card. For non-UK citizens or EU/EEA passport holders, suitable forms of identification include any travel document showing indefinite leave to remain, a visa if applicable and/or a home office immigration status document of a certificate of registration/naturalisation as a British citizen will also be acceptable.
Considerations for a Smooth Rental Application
Additional time should be allocated to ensure that all necessary visa documentation/proof of right-of-abode is available before submitting an application for a lease.
Reference checks are normally conducted by the Agents on behalf of the Landlords. Agents will be liable under the new legislation and therefore likely to impose more stringent compliance checks for potential tenants/occupiers who hold a visa.
It is unlikely that keys to rental accommodation will be provided to tenants/occupiers until all reference checks have been finalised. This could result in assignees needing to spend additional time in temporary accommodation.
Further information can be found at the UK legislation website.