The Home Office has today published revised guidance on the obligation of UK landlords to carry out immigration checks on their tenants. The guidance sets out how landlords can discharge their duty under Immigration Act 2014 and avoid being issued with a substantial fine.
To discharge their legal duty, landlords have to ensure that they view and retain a copy of a single primary document or a combination of secondary documents for all prospective tenants aged 18 or above.
Primary documents include:
- a passport showing that the holder is a British citizen, a national of the European Economic Area or Switzerland;
- an EEA residence card issued to an EEA national (or the non-EEA family member of an EEA national) confirming that the holder has permanent residence;
- a vignette or biometric residence card confirming that the holder has ‘indefinite leave to enter’;
Examples of secondary documents include:
- a UK birth certificate issued in the UK which proves that the holder is a British citizen;
- a current full or provisional UK driving licence;
- a letter, which is no more than three months old, from the tenant’s employer confirming his identity, status as employee and either his employee reference number or National Insurance number;
- a criminal record check certificate (called a ‘Disclosure and Barring Service Certificate’ which is no more than three month old.
Landlords must the keep a record of every document they have checked, whether a hard copy or a scanned and unalterable electronic copy. The record must be kept securely during and 12 months after the tenancy in question. Complying with these requirements will provide a landlord with a ‘statutory excuse’, namely an excuse in law to prevent the landlord from being fined.