The Home Office has announced that from 1 February 2016, the Right to Rent scheme will be extended across England.

This means that all private landlords, including people who sublet or take in lodgers, will have to check their tenants have the right to be in the UK before renting a property.

The rules only apply to new tenancies from 1 February onwards. There is no need to check the status of existing occupants. Checks are needed for all adults aged 18 or over who will use the property as their main residence. Landlords will need to keep copies of documents as proof that the check has been made.

There are exemptions from the new rules, including local authority tenants, certain types of (but not all) student accommodation, some accommodation provided with employment, hostels and refuges.

Landlords who do not comply with the new regulations, either by consistently failing to carry out checks or by letting properties to illegal immigrants may be liable for a civil penalty or fine. However, landlords and their agents will not be expected to be immigration or forgery experts and they will not be penalised if they are misled by a skillful forgery, provided they record that they have performed the necessary checks.

How you can find out more

• Use the special Landlords Checking Service

• Call the helpline for general advice for landlords on 0300 069 9799

• Go to the website for general information and key documents.

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