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Right To Rent: Ombudsman tells agents to get landlords' written consent

The Property Ombudsman has warned letting agents not to forget their responsibilities under the Right To Rent immigration checks that become mandatory across England from February 1.

Christopher Hamer, who retires from the post of TPO next month, says in legal terms the Right To Rent legislation, contained within the 2015 Immigration Bill, states that the legal responsibility of checking a tenant’s documents lies with the landlord as the person who gives permission for letting out their property in return for rent.

But Hamer warns that agents have this liability transferred to them if there is a written agreement that they will do the Right To Rent checks on behalf of their client.

“Agents need to be very precise with the landlord from the outset as to what responsibilities they are taking on in regard to Right To Rent” he says.

“If the landlord wants the agent to undertake the necessary legal checks, then there must be clear and unambiguous documentation between the parties stating who has taken responsibility, and agents must diligently exercise their duties.” 

Under Right to Rent, landlords or agents should check identity documents for all new tenants and take copies. This includes checking a UK passport, a European Economic Area passport or identity card, a permanent residence card or travel document showing indefinite leave to remain, a Home Office immigration status document or a certificate of registration or naturalisation as a British citizen.

  • Simon shinerock

    It's probable that no agent can entirely relieve a Landlord from their responsibilities although citing an agreement may be a defence which may be seen as mitigation, it's too early to say, the courts will eventually decide. Our Primary Tenancy business model completely avoids this conflict because act as both agent and Landlord.

  • Don Holmes

    I have always wondered what all the fuss is about as surely All agents check All ID on every applicant, as failing to do so would also leave the door open to money laundering issues?
    Liverpool is a magnet and we have a large immigrant population all who so far are proving to be fantastic tenants!
    If anyone needs any assistance or advise in this area I would be happy to help

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