Question

Immigration Act and Right to Rent (England)

Tenant’s Visa About To Run Out

15 Sep 2016 | 2 comments

We recently let a property to an English language student with the tenancy commencing on the 19th August of this year the tenancy is for a 12 month term. Her Visa was due to expire on the 26th of September. She told us she would be renewing the Visa before the date expired, I told her we would need to check the status of this before this date.
I emailed her yesterday to check up on progress and she is now saying her Visa will not be renewed for another 6 months so effectively as I understand it she will be in the country illegally from the 27th September. When asked she said she also cannot produce any correspondence from the Home Office allowing this extension without the appropriate Visa.
What are my obligations on the 27th September as far as the immigration authorities are concerned?

Answer

2 Comments

  1. guildy

    My apologies for the delay in replying but I just wanted to check the statutory guidance before responding.

    The first thing to say is that it sounds like you have done appropriate right to rent checks assuming you have also retained a copy of their appropriate ID.

    Where the person has a “time-limited” right to rent (as is the position in your case), follow up checks must be conducted sometime before the later of 12 months or when their right to remain expires. Therefore, you have a statutory excuse for 12 months since the last check and you didn’t technically need to do anything until soon before the 12 months. That’s the case even if the visa expires before 12 months (otherwise landlords could have ended up having to do checks every month)!

    However, the statutory guidance is slightly ambiguous in relation to when to make a report to the home office:

    If the follow-up checks indicate that an occupier no longer has the right to rent, the landlord should make a report to the Home Office via http://www.gov.uk/righttorentchecks. The landlord must make the report as soon as reasonably practicable after discovering that the occupier no longer has a right to rent, and before their existing time-limited statutory excuse expires. Para 5.4 statutory guidance.

    From what you describe, you have now conducted follow up checks within 12 months and found they no longer have a right to rent. Therefore, although you didn’t need to do the follow up checks, the fact that you have done seems to trigger para 5.4 above.

    Therefore, I think it best to play it safe and make the report as described in the link above (I believe it’s very quick and easy). Despite the visa expiring, the tenancy continues as before and from your prospective, you’ve done everything correctly and everything continues as normal.

    The lesson here is to not do follow up checks until nearer the 12 month time-limit as the duty to report is only triggered after a follow up check within the statutory period. Until a follow up check is done, no report is necessary.

    Note: I appreciate that at the time of replying their visa hasn’t quite expired so references above are references to 26th September onwards when it actually has expired and you are unable to ascertain a renewal.

    • Inspired Homes

      Hi Adrian,

      Thank you for the concise reply.

      I’m glad we seem to have fulfilled our obligations.

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