Does the agent really need to reference a new flatmate?

Q.  I have been renting my apartment for the last two years and I have just spoken to my agent to let them know that my boyfriend would like to move in so they can check if the Landlord is ok with this. The landlord has agreed which is great but my agent is insisting that my boyfriend must present his photo ID and proof of address at their office so they can reference him and draw up a new contract. Surely, they don’t need to do this, sounds like a scam to get money from us for no good reason?

A.  I’m afraid you are very wrong in your assumption. The agent is merely carrying out his due diligence to ensure that he is compliant with the governments Right to Rent scheme – which requires landlords or agents to check ID of all prospective adult occupiers, this was rolled out in parts of the West Midlands on 1 December 2014 and across the rest of England on 1 February 2016.  Drawing up a new contract is the safest option for all parties as it will ensure your boyfriend is both joint and severally liable for the rent and the upkeep of the property as well as liable for any dilapidations when you eventually move out. Of course, you can ask that he be added as a permitted occupier but Permitted occupiersaren’t classed as tenants. They can’t be bound by the tenancy agreement, and aren’t responsible for paying rent or looking after the property. My advice to you is that your agent is acting in a professional manor ensuring he is both compliant with regulations imposed on him as an agent while at the same time ensuring that you as their existing tenant is protected by insisting a new contract is drawn up. From your comments, thus far I would assume the agents are members of a regulatory organisation of some type as their actions are those of professionals in the industry, so please do not worry, sure sounds like you are in safe hands to me!

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