Important info for Tenants from July 1st 2021

What does Right to Rent mean for me?

Right to Rent was introduced under the Immigration Act 2014 and it is really important for both tenants and landlords to understand the implications of this act.

It places restrictions on illegal immigrants accessing rented accommodation in England by making all adult occupants prove they are in the UK legally before being granted a tenancy. This is done through a process called a Right to Rent check.

What is a Right to Rent check?

This is when a prospective adult occupant of a rental property shows their identity documents in person to a landlord or letting agent. This is a similar checking process to presenting your passport (and visa) to a border control officer at an immigration check point.

The landlord/letting agent must take a copy of the documents seen, and record the check being completed. If a tenant has a time limited right to rent (e.g. a visa or Biometric Residency Permit with an expiry date) then the check must be done within 28 days of the tenancy start date and the visa must be valid for the proposed tenancy start date.

What are the landlord’s/agent’s responsibilities?

The landlord/agent must:

  • Check all adult tenants who will live in the property as their only or main home
  • Ask tenants for the original documents that show they have the right to be in the UK
  • Check the original documents with the tenant physically present and ensure they are valid
  • Make copies of the original documents and record when the check was completed
  • Conduct follow up checks at the appropriate time (e.g. repeat the check when a tenant’s visa expires)

If follow up checks reveal that an occupant in a rental property no longer has a valid ‘Right to Rent’ then the landlord/lettings agent must report that person to the Home Office.

What documents are acceptable?

Acceptable documents that a tenant can use to demonstrate their identity and Right to Rent are dependent on their nationality.

Options for British citizens are:

  • combination of valid UK driving licence & original UK birth certificate
  • valid passport

Options for all other nationalities are:

  • valid proof of settlement status granted, Tenants can supply a “share code” so Agents can obtain the documents direct
  • EEA nationals should now be registered on the Government Platform with “settled status”
  • combination of passport and valid visa or Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)

If I don’t have my documents what are the consequences?

Occupation of a rental property is conditional on all adult occupants demonstrating a valid Right to Rent prior to the tenancy start date. This can be done at our offices. If any adult occupant fails to present themselves and their original documents proving a valid Right to Rent then all occupants may be denied access to the rental property until this requirement is satisfied.

Want to know more?

Right to Rent checks have been introduced as part of wider Government reforms to the immigration system. For more information visit the Home Office website

Tenant Fee Ban Important Info For Tenants

Black Cat Residential are members of the Property Redress Scheme, Membership No: PRS002380

Members of ARLA Member No: M0189981

Subscribe to Propertymark Client Money Protection Scheme Member No: C0125430

Permitted payments

For properties in England, the Tenant Fees Act 2019 means that in addition to rent, lettings agents can only charge tenants (or anyone acting on the tenant’s behalf) the following permitted payments:

  • Holding deposits (a maximum of 1 week’s rent);
  • Deposits (a maximum deposit of 5 weeks’ rent for annual rent below £50,000, or 6 weeks’ rent for annual rental of £50,000 and above);
  • Payments to change a tenancy agreement eg. change of sharer (capped at £50 or, if higher, any reasonable costs);
  • Payments associated with early termination of a tenancy (capped at the landlord’s loss or the agent’s reasonably incurred costs);
  • Utilities, communication services (eg. telephone, broadband), TV licence and council tax;
  • Interest payments for the late payment of rent (up to 3% above Bank of England’s annual percentage rate);
  • Reasonable costs for replacement of lost keys or other security devices;
  • Contractual damages in the event of the tenant’s default of a tenancy agreement; and
  • Any other permitted payments under the Tenant Fees Act 2019

Tenants – Did you know?

In an area like Wisbech where demand for good quality rental properties is outstripping supply, Tenants need to act fast when they see a property they want.

However, we must warn Tenants regarding Application Charges which vary greatly in the Town depending on which Agent you use.

Black Cat is totally transparent about our Tenant Fees – £225 will the be total paid in fees for up to 2 people, every additional Tenant is charged £50 pp thereafter.  There are no additional check in/ check out fees and Full Colour Inventory’s are supplied at no additional charge to the Tenant.

So whilst we appreciate Tenants often apply for properties in hast so as not lose the property, we also advise they read the small print as most Agents are unable to refund the Application Charges once the process has started, as they incur costs themselves.  Likewise we know of Tenants who have tried to rent privately to avoid Agency fees and have regretted the lack of recourse this gives later during the Tenancy.

Black Cat is an Independent ARLA Licensed Agency with Client Money Protection which assures all Tenants of the highest standards whilst offering extremely competitive Agency charges.arla-licensed-150prs

 

Who gets your vote?

With the General Election looming there have been discussions in the media regarding rent controls, caps and general tighter controls over the Private Rental Sector.  The Election is too close to call, so there are a number of outcomes which could affect the PRS and Landlords, both professional and reluctant.

Other Countries have seen rent controls lead to a higher level of homelessness and as we here in Fenland are experiencing a Housing shortage – especially in affordable housing – so this could be a National issue which will impact on us here in Wisbech.

There are also plans to change Stamp Duty again – so the next few months could be interesting for the Housing market!  Watch this space….   There are a number of interesting articles circulating some of which we have linked for you below:

http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/news/politicians-at-odds-over-renting-regulation

https://landlordnews.co.uk/the-abolishment-of-letting-agent-fees-could-be-a-month-away/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2015-32476194