What is the right to rent?

As a landlord, you are legally required to check the immigration status of all tenants, lodgers and any other adults who will be living in your property to make sure they have a right to rent residential property in England.

The right to rent check should take place before the commencement of the tenancy. You must ensure that you carry out these checks without breaking equality laws and must not make assumptions about who has a right to rent. The regulations are updated and amended regularly so it’s important as a landlord that you’re applying the most up to date checks.

Who has a right to rent?

A tenant may have an unlimited right to rent, a time-limited right to rent or no right to rent.

Tenants who are British or Irish Citizens, who have indefinite leave to remain, have refugee status or humanitarian protection, have settled or pre-settled status under the EU settlement scheme, have permission to be in the UK on a work or student visa or where the Home Office has granted permission, have a right to rent in the UK.

If the tenant is only allowed to stay in the UK for a limited time, you need to do a follow up check after 12 months or when the leave to remain ends if this is sooner.

You do not need to check tenants’ right to rent in social housing, a care home, hospice or hospital, a hostel or refuge, a mobile home, student accommodation, accommodation that is provided by a local authority or tied accommodation.

You do not need to carry out checks on tenants in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.

What steps do I need to take?

  1. You can carry out a manual right to rent check. You should ask any adults to provide you with documents to show that they have the right to live in the UK, either permanently or temporarily. The GOV.UK website has a full list of acceptable documents. Make sure you check any documents for authenticity, keep copies of the documents for at least one year after the tenants move in and record the date you made the check.

  2. If on consideration of the documents, you need verification from the Home Office because the person has an application or appeal outstanding with the Home Office, or the Home Office is currently holding the person’s documents, you can carry out an online right to rent check.

  3. Since 6 April 2022, you can carry out a right to rent check using Identity Document Validation Technology (IDVT) which is carried out by Identity Service Providers digitally.

What happens if I don’t comply?

The Immigration Act 2016 introduced criminal offences for failing to carry out these checks. A landlord can be fined up to £3,000 for renting your property to someone who isn’t allowed to rent property in England and face imprisonment for five years.

Need advice? Contact us today

We have a specialist tenancy law team who can advise residential landlords about right to rent checks, landlord obligations, tenancy agreements, dealing with deposits, disrepair, dispute resolution and recovering possession.

To make an enquiry to see how we can assist you as a landlord,  contact us on enquiries@cartridgeslaw.co.uk or give us a call on 01392 286774.