Tenant's visa has run out - where does this leave me?

Question

When I carried out my tenant’s right to rent check 6 months ago, it showed that their visa was due to run out this month. They assured me an extension wouldn’t be an issue, so I scheduled a check back this week. We’ve just met, and no visa! She assured me that the paperwork is all being processed, but she had not yet received confirmation that the visa would be renewed. Admittedly, this hold up does ring true, however despite this I am currently still letting a property to someone without the right to rent... I don’t want to end up with a huge fine, but at the same time I don’t want to cause a fuss if it is just a hold up in paperwork. What do I do?

Answer

Firstly, don’t panic! You’ve done exactly the right thing in making clear schedules to check back on visa expirations, and it sounds like you really want to work with your tenants, instead of a knee-jerk reaction to panic, which is a great start.

Also, good news - the law is actually on your side in this instance!
Providing you can prove that you checked your tenant’s identification and carried out proper Right to Rent checks before the tenancy started (as you did) and their paperwork was present and correct at this stage, you have a 12 month exemption from any prosecution- even if her visa application is refused.

This gentle bending of the rules should give you and your tenant a little breathing space to allow for any hold ups in paper work to come through.

Do maintain contact with her though, and stress that as soon as she has the documentation she should make contact with you so that you can verify the new documentation. Making sure that you keep your paperwork up to date is vital in ensuring that you, and your tenants, are safeguarded against the new regulations, and it is important that everyone in the situation has a full understanding of this!

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