A solicitor has advised that all letting agents must report any Right to Rent checks that they conduct on behalf of a landlord to the investor.
Letting Agents Must Report All Right to Rent Checks to Landlords
Rachel Harvey, a lawyer at Cartwright King, states that the Right to Rent scheme is the responsibility of the landlord, as they authorise occupation of the property in return for rent.
However, liability can be passed on to letting agents by written agreement.
Harvey explains: “The written agreement must be signed by both parties and agree terms and timescales, and include a clause saying the agent takes legal responsibility as well as stating that they accept full responsibility for paying the penalty should a statutory excuse not be accepted.
“Where a landlord and an agent enter a written agreement stating that the agent will be responsible for taking the steps necessary to establish an excuse against a penalty, the agent will be liable for a penalty if a breach of the scheme is found and they have failed to undertake sufficient checks and report the outcome of these to the landlord, and make appropriate reports to the Home Office where necessary.”
She continues: “Following a check, the agent must report to the landlord the outcome of the check.
“If they report that the check shows someone does not have the right to rent and the landlord insists on entering into the tenancy nonetheless, and the agent has informed the landlord in writing, then the liability passes back to the landlord.”1
Harvey also notes that if the landlord meets the tenant and there is not an agreement in place for the checks to be conducted by an agent, then the landlord is responsible for undertaking the checks, even if the agent is accountable for other referencing and administration.
If you use a letting agent, always ensure that your individual responsibilities are clear to avoid penalisation.