The Right to Rent scheme came in under the Immigration Act 2014 and it places obligations on both landlords and tenants, so it’s really important to understand what these obligations entail.
The act put restrictions on illegal immigrants by requiring all adult occupants of rented properties to prove they are in the UK legally before they can take up a tenancy. This process is known as the Right to Rent check.
What happens during a Right to Rent check?
A prospective adult tenant shows their identity documents to a letting agency of landlord. It happens in a similar manner to presenting a passport and visa to a border control officer at immigration checkpoints.
The landlord or letting agent must make a copy of the documents and make a record of the check having been completed. If a tenant has a time-limited right to rent, for example a Biometric Residency Permit (BRP), then this check must be completed within 28 days of the tenancy’s start date. The visa must also be valid for the start date.
What are my responsibilities as a landlord or letting agent?
- Check all the adult tenants who will live in the property as their only or main residence
- Ask the tenants for the originals of the documents that show they have the right to be in the UK
- Check all the original documents, with the tenant physically present, and ensure they are valid and accurate
- Make good-quality copies of the original documents and record the time and date when the check was completed
- Conduct follow-up checks at the appropriate time, for example when a tenancy is renewed or when a tenant’s visa expires.
If a follow-up check shows that the tenant no longer has a Right to Rent then the landlord or agent must report the person to the Home Office.
Which documents are acceptable?
The acceptable documents differ depending on the prospective tenant’s nationality.
Options for UK citizens are:
- A combination of a valid UK driving licence and an original UK birth certificate
- A valid UK passport
Options for all other nationalities are:
- A valid EEA*/Swiss national ID card (since June 30 2021 a visa or proof of settlement status granted is required)
- A combination of passport and valid visa or Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)
*Countries in the EEA are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain & Sweden
If I don’t have my documents what might happen?
The occupation of a rental property is conditional upon all adult occupants showing they have a Right to rent. If you or a fellow tenant can’t demonstrate this, then all occupants may be denied access to the property until this requirement is met.
If you need more information on the Right to Rent scheme, then visit the Home Office website.