A Guide to Right to Rent Checks

Before any tenancy can be agreed a right to rent check must be carried out by the landlord or agency to ensure the tenant has legal status to reside in the UK. Our guide to Right to Rent checks explains what’s required by the process.

What is Right to Rent?

If a tenant is going through the process of submitting an offer on a property available for rent in England, by law the landlord or agency must conduct a Right to Rent check. This involves making passport and immigration checks to ensure the prospective tenant is allowed to legally live in England. The same rules do not apply to tenants in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

What does a Right to Rent Check involve?

The landlord or agency will have to follow a series of set rules to ensure the check has been completed to satisfy legal requirements. This involves:

  • Checking against the original form of identification listed by the Home Office. This includes documentation such as a UK, EU or EEA passport or identity card, indefinite leave to remain confirmation, and visas or naturalisation certificate. You can find the full list of acceptable documents here.
  • If any other adults over the age of 18 are due to live in the property the same identification process must also be followed, whether or not they are on the tenancy agreement.
  • Clear copies of the identification documents must be taken and stored securely during the entire tenancy. They must also be kept on file for a minimum of one year after the tenancy has ended.
  • If a student visa is used, follow up checks must be carried out in the time allowed. If follow up checks reveal that the tenant no longer has the correct status the landlord must inform the Home Office.
  • Once complete the original documents can then be returned to the tenant.

The landlord or agency can only accept original documentation and not photocopies and the checks must be conducted in-person. This process also applies if a tenant is sub-letting a room or property, although the burden of responsibility falls upon the tenant as in this scenario they will then become the legal landlord.

Can a tenant’s Right to Rent change after moving in?

If the Home Office change the immigration status of a tenant after they have started the tenancy this could prevent the tenant from remaining in the property.

Your Right to Rent can be changed at a later date by the Home Office which would then lead to the landlord or agent serving notice to end the tenancy. When asked to leave a property the standard notice is at least 28 days, after which the landlord must then pursue legal channels to ensure the tenant vacates the property.

If the Right to Rent status of other people living in the property has changed, but the tenant(s) named on the tenancy agreement has not, the named tenant(s) can remain living in the property while those without the correct legal status must leave within 28 days.

If you are looking to let out property or rent a property in North West London and would like further information on Right to Rent checks, please get in touch with our expert lettings team on 0208 459 2530 or via email lettings@regalestate.co.uk.