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New guidance issued for landlords renting to eGate-eligible visitors

06 August 2019

The Home Office has updated its Short Guide to Right to Rent following the expansion of e-passport gate access to individuals from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the USA from 20 May.

It is useful for businesses to be aware of this guidance in order to help minimise the risk that any business visitors they have invited to the UK will encounter problems with renting accommodation during their stay.

While all people who are lawfully in the UK have a right to rent, visitors from these ‘low-risk’ countries will not have a Border Force endorsement in their passport as evidence of their date of entry and that they have been granted leave to enter the UK. This poses new challenges for landlords because those visitors will not therefore have an acceptable document which enables them to obtain a statutory excuse against a civil penalty for renting to someone who is not lawfully in the UK.

According to the new guidance, landlords will be able to establish the visitor’s right to rent status by checking their passport alongside any documentary evidence that they last entered the UK within the last six months. Examples of documents given in the guidance include originals or copies of boarding passes, tickets or booking confirmations for air, rail or sea travel to the UK in the last six months. Electronic documents are acceptable, as are copies including photocopies or electronic screenshots. The landlord will need to retain a copy of the evidence of arrival date, along with a copy of the person’s passport information pages to show that they have acted properly.

The acceptable documents for right to rent are set out in a statutory code of practice and the guidance aims to provide an interim solution until the code of practice is next updated. It would therefore be prudent for landlords to take and retain a copy of the Short Guide to Right to Rent, and to monitor for changes to the code of practice.

There is no right to rent check required where the rental is for a time-limited period of less than three months and it is clear that the accommodation is intended to be used as holiday accommodation, so landlords are not required to retain any documents in this situation.

Although citizens of these countries who enter the UK as visitors will only have six months’ leave to enter, landlords who have conducted a right to rent check in line with the guidance will have a statutory excuse for 12 months.

Businesses who invite visitors from these countries to the UK should be aware of the guidance and refer to it if any issues arise with securing their accommodation.

If you have any queries about these changes, please do get in touch with a member of the immigration team.

To read a short guide on right to rent click here.

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