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 adjustments to right to rent checks introduced as part of the response to COVID-19, ended on 30 September 2022

The penalties for not carrying 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:

The following groups of people currently have an unlimited right to rent:

  1. British citizens
  2. Irish citizens
  3. Individuals who have the right of abode in the UK, or who have been granted settlement or have settled status, including via the EUSS, or have no time limit on their permission to stay in the UK.

You can conduct checks on those with an unlimited right to rent at any time before the start of a tenancy agreement. You must retain the evidence of the check with the date of when the check was carried out, for the duration of the tenancy agreement and for at least one year thereafter. You do not need to conduct any further checks.

Those with a time-limited right to rent

Those who do not fall into the three categories above will have a time-limited right to rentand will be able to provide documentary evidence (physical or digital) to demonstrate this. The following group of people have a time-limited right to rent:

• individuals with valid Permission to Enter or Stay for a time limited period, which includes pre-settled status via the EUSS or time-limited permission under the points-based immigration system.

• individuals with an outstanding application with the Home Office.

You will not be liable for a civil penalty if you let accommodation to someone with a time-limited right to rent. You must conduct checks on those with a time-limited right to rent no sooner than 28 days before the start of a tenancy. You should retain evidence of the check along with the date of when the check was conducted for the duration of the tenancy and for at least one year thereafter.

What documents will I need to check?

Everything landlords need to know is contained in this document from The Home Office.

List A Group 1: Acceptable single documents which show an unlimited right to rent

List A Group 2:  Acceptable document combinations which show an unlimited right to rent (any 2 of the below to be shown in any combination)

List B acceptable documents to establish a time-limited right to rent


If presented with a document from List B, a statutory excuse will exist for the longest of the following:

• one year, beginning with the date on which the checks were last made.

• until the period of the person’s immigration permission in the UK expires.

• until the expiry of the validity of the Home Office issued immigration document which evidences their right to be in the UK.

The Home Office has produced guidance for tenants and landlords.  Landlords are also required to make a copy of the documents and keep them on file for a year after the tenancy ends.  

Using a Share Code - what is The Home Office online service?

The Home Office online right to rent service offers a way to check someone’s right to rent digitally, without needing to check a physical document.  International Students can provide landlords with a share code and which can be checked using the online service on GOV.UK .