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Landlords can be sent to prison for five years or receive unlimited fines if they rent property in England to someone who does not have the right to rent.
This is the warning in updated advice to landlords on ‘right to rent’ rules that was published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government this week.
Landlords are required by law to check the status of any tenant aged 18 or over who pays to use their properties as their main home.
This applies even if the property has been bought with tenants already in place.
There are stiff penalties for landlords who rent to tenants they have any reason to believe did not have permission to enter or stay in the UK, whose right to be here has expired, or whose papers were incorrect or false
There are also strict rules on the evidence that landlords may accept as proof of a right to rent. Whether or not it can be shown landlords should have had suspicions, they can still be fined if they have not made the required checks and it turns out their tenants do not have the right to stay in the UK.
The guidance also reminds landlords that special rules apply during the Coronavirus Crisis that make temporary changes to the checks required, including allowing digital documentation and use of video calls.