Renting to foreigners

by Readers Question

10:08 AM, 2nd September 2013
About 5 years ago

Renting to foreigners

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Renting to foreigners

We currently rent to eight foreign tenants from Poland, Latvia, Portugal and Hungary. Renting to foreigners

In the past our main concern has been employment and have always asked for payslips as proof.

Recently in the press they have been saying landlords should be also be checking if people are here legally.

My question is what proof should I be asking for for their immigration status?

I am about to re-let a flat to some Polish tenants and want to make sure I’m not letting to illegals.

Also do I get to send the government a bill for been an immigration officer? LOL

Thanks

Sally T



Comments

Mark Alexander

10:20 AM, 2nd September 2013
About 5 years ago

Hi Sally

I don't believe this is law yet or that any guidance has been issued to date. I am happy to be corrected if I have missed anything.

Given that all all of the countries you have named are EU Countries you shouldn't have a problem. However, would you know the different between somebody from Latvia, Hungary or Poland to a person from Russia? I am married to a Russian and also speak some Russian but I still mistake dialects occasionally, especially as so many Latvians actually speak Russian.

Part of my due diligence is always to request a passport. I also use FCC Paragon to formally reference my tenants and they can do referencing in most countries.

 

If a person has a British passport (as my wife does) then it doesn't really matter that she was born in Russia. However, other foreigners can be legally in the UK on a variety of different Visa's and we must consider how we are going to monitor those, i.e. how long they are entitled to be here etc. I must admit, it does worry me that I could get prosecuted for making a mistake on something for which I have had no formal training. I suppose we will just have to wait and see what the rules are, hopefully following a consultation period with the PRS so that we can all express our concerns.

For now though, I suggest you focus on the most important issues, i.e. that tenants will:-

1) Pay their rent when it is due

2) Respect the property

3) Respect the neighbours

I have documented my strategy for finding the perfect tenants and minimising risk so please feel free to take a look >>> http://www.property118.com/landlords-buy-to-let-property-investment-strategy/finding-perfect-tenants-and-minimising-risk/

Neil Patterson

10:24 AM, 2nd September 2013
About 5 years ago

Hi Sally,

Poland is part of the EU so they won't be illegal immigrants, but how do you know they are who they say they are. The rule of thumb is that you should take reasonable care to identify Tenants eg have you seen the originals of their passports and taken copies along with Driving Licenses with their old address in Poland.

For Money Laundering purposes in Finance the general rule is one proof of ID and two proofs of residence.

Good luck though trying to charge customs and immigration as you may as well take your own rubber gloves when you next go on holiday Lol !

Barbara Thorning

10:48 AM, 2nd September 2013
About 5 years ago

The criteria to be met is similar to that required by employers to check for eligibility to live and work in the UK.  Regarding non-EU citizens, if you have done all 'reasonable' ID checks eg passports and dates on visas then you would have a good defence if they turned out to be false. An N.I. number is NOT accepted as proof because these are issued for 12 month temporary work permits and could have expired.  Not suggesting for one minute that you rely on it, but if you only let to working tenants then their employers should have already conducted the required checks, so if they too were fooled by any fake documents you would have an even stronger defence and you should also ask for an employer reference. If you do let on a temporary working visa eg, some in the medical profession, make a note of the expiry date in your diary and make sure it ends after the end date of an AST. Do be careful of the terms within The Equality Act 2010 and familiarise yourself with it, particularly Racial Discrimination.  https://www.gov.uk/equality-act-2010-guidance

Yvette Newbury

18:15 PM, 2nd September 2013
About 5 years ago

We have always asked for a passport copy and copy of the relevant visa page which is clearly

dated to show when it expires.  Photo Id is important for foreign nationals so that you can

identify those who are living at the flat, as often there are guests staying with new arrivals

into the UK staying for a few nights.  Our tenancy agreements limit this to 3 weeks stay

maximum for any "guest".

 

Sharon

21:58 PM, 2nd September 2013
About 5 years ago

I have some experience of conducting Evidence of Identity interviews for NI Number applications and even with equipment it's not easy. On a passport look particularly to see whether the photo has been substituted (cut out & replaced). Under a UV light the stitching should fluoresce. Check for consecutive pages (none removed), watermarks etc. ID cards will often be produced by EU citizens and they are the biggest source of fraud, mainly due to stolen 'blanks', and virtually impossible to spot


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