The Right to Rent

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Landlords of residential property should be familiar with the right to rent rules by now and well used to checking prospective tenants right to live in this country. This is a reminder that letting a residential property to a migrant who’s not entitled to be here becomes a criminal offence on 1 December. The sanctions are an unlimited fine and/or imprisonment for up to 5 years.

I’ve been asked if this regime applies to holiday lets. The answer is that it depends on the facts of each case.

The law is targeted at the occupation of property as the tenant’s only or main home under a residential tenancy agreement. I anticipate that most holiday lets won’t be caught because they’re very short term arrangements with an overriding leisure purpose. However holiday lets are not specifically exempt, hence the warning that every case must be considered on its own facts.

The Home Office guidance is that a lease for more than 3 months or for an indefinite term may indicate something other than a “genuine” holiday let. Note this is guidance only; it is not a rule of thumb. Also note that word “genuine”. It’s crept into several immigration tests in the last couple of years and introduces flexibility of interpretation which can of course bend either way.

As ever, Trethowans Employment & Immigration Team is ready to help.