Right to Rent - a guide for landlords

All landlords have to verify the immigration status of all prospective tenants or lodgers before they can rent their property. There are a few exclusions.  Click the link to see if you are renting out a property that is exempt.  

What are Right to Rent Checks? 

Right to Rent checks are carried out for every new tenancy agreement and apply to new tenants after 1 February 2016 - existing tenants do not need to be checked. If you are renting smaller off-street properties to students it is likely you will need to provide certain documentation (see below).  Right to Rent checks also apply for lodgers, so all households or ‘host families’ that are offering a room to rent also have to carry out the checks and are subject to the same penalties as private landlords if they break the law.

The penalties for not carry out appropriate Right to Rent checks can be severe so make sure you are fully aware of your responsibilities

How do i carry out the checks?

Before the start of a tenancy or lodging agreement, you have to check the status of everyone moving into the property, and make sure that each adult fits into one of these categories:

1.  A citizen of the UK, the European Economic Area or Switzerland: they are not covered by the Act, but you will have to see proof of their citizenship to make sure.

2.  A person with an indefinite ‘right to rent’: someone with indefinite leave to remain or right of abode in the UK.

3.  A person with a ‘time-limited right to rent’: someone who has limited leave to remain in the UK or a right to live in the UK under EU law. This includes some international students.

4.  A person with a ‘discretionary right to rent’: the Home Office can grant this in certain cases, e.g. to people waiting to have their immigration status resolved. 

For those with a time-limited right to rent, including students, new checks must be made after 12 months, or just before their current right expires.

What documents will I need to check?

The Home Office has produced guidance for tenants and landlords on what forms of identity documents can be accepted as proof of a tenant’s right to rent. You are also required to make a copy of the documents and keep them on file for a year after the tenancy ends.