Today – 1 February 2016 – is another important and big day of change for landlords with rented property in England. There is a new “How to rent guide” published by the DCLG, the right to rent provisions are rolled out to the whole of England and we have updated our tenancy agreements with the new guides. We have also updated our application for accommodation over the last few days.
Right to rent – Immigration Act 2014
As previously reported, the right to rent provisions are extended across the whole of England after being piloted in Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton.
Basically, in a nutshell:
- ensure you are using our current application for accommodation as this asks all the appropriate questions
- ensure you physically see an original passport of all adult occupiers (not just tenants) in the presence of the holder(s)
- ensure the appearance and age of the holder reasonably matches any photograph and information
- make a clear copy of the passport and retain it electronically or paper copy – make sure to record the date it was copied
- retain for at least 12 months after the tenancy has ended
- if the applicant does not have a passport you will need two documents from group 2 of list A (if they are EEA or Swiss)
- if the applicant is not EEA or Swiss and found to have a time-limited right to remain in the UK, follow up checks will be necessary for which consult our guidance
- contact the Guild if you are unsure of anything or are suspicious in any way (for example a single adult wishes to occupy a five bedroom house with no one else intending to occupy).
Right to rent checks
Where you have an odd document you are unsure of, we will always help you and advise accordingly included in your subscription. However, we have now introduced a new add on to our brand new tenant referencing service where we will provide right to rent checks for you. Simply upload the documentation with your tenant reference / credit check request and we will do the rest.
According to the statutory guidance, the original documentation must be checked in the presence of the holder or via live video link. Neither of these we can do. Therefore, all this service can do is offer a second opinion. Any company who claims to be able to do a right to rent check simply from a scanned copy is acting contrary to the statutory guidance!
How to rent guide
The 1 February 2016 also sees a new version of the “How to rent guide” published by DCLG which is the prescribed information which must be supplied under every tenancy since 1 October 2015.
It is imperative that any new tenancy or renewal granted from 1 February 2016 is issued with the new guide (any renewal must include the new leaflet if it has changed since it was last given).
All our tenancy agreements have been updated (see next heading).
Failure to provide the correct guide will result in an inability to serve a section 21 notice.
A number of forms have been updated:
Application for accommodation
Over the last few days our application for accommodation has been changed, mostly for the new tenant referencing service but has had other small changes over the last few days. The latest is version 02/16v3 (version 3 because a few edits were made within a couple of days).
Assured shorthold tenancy agreements
All our assured shorthold tenancies have been updated and will contain the code 02/16.
The primary change was the replacement of the how to rent guide which now has the February version included.
Whilst we were on with a change and after a request, we have clarified grounds 1 and 2 notice within the tenancy agreements (landlords only or principal home and mortgaged property).
We have also made a small change to the sub-letting clause.
In the deposit assured shorthold tenancy agreements, we have increased them from seven pages to eight as we ran out of room although we have been able to increase the font size slightly now.
The agreements that have changed are:
- F001 no deposit assured shorthold tenancy agreement
- F002 Deposit Protection Service AST
- F003 MyDeposits AST
- F004 Dispute Service (Tenancy Deposit Scheme) AST
I know many of you are on with student lettings for next September. If you have already started but not yet completed the October version of our tenancy, that is fine. All you need do is replace the October how to rent guide with this February version of the guide. The changes we have made to the tenancy agreements are very insignificant and not worth changing where you’ve already started. You will get the new changes next time you do a new tenancy or renewal.