How to Perform a Right to Rent Check for Private Rental Accommodation

This guide provides advice to landlords, leasing agents, and homeowners on how to perform a right to rent check when renting private rental accommodation. If you rent your property to someone who has no right to rent in England, you can be fined up to £3,000 for each tenant or be sent to prison. To avoid this, the landlord or leasing agent should contact the Home Office's Right to Rent Check Service. It is important to note that the landlord or leasing agent should not charge you a fee for a credit check.

The Home Office introduced controls on the right to rent with the aim of making it difficult for people to live and work in England illegally. Leases in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are not subject to right to rent controls. Certified Identity Service Providers (IDSP) are third-party providers that comply with a government standard to carry out digital checks on the right to rent of British and Irish citizens holding a valid passport (including Irish passport cards). IDSPs offer convenient controls; however, not all agents will be able to offer checks for the right to rent through an IDSP (even for this restricted group) and whether this is an appropriate option for your lease will depend on several different factors.

If you don't have digital evidence to prove your right to rent online, you can show the landlord your original documents. If you have established or pre-established status, you'll need to get an online action code and send it to the landlord or leasing agent. You can ask the landlord to carry out the checks on your behalf; this agreement must be agreed in writing and you must keep a copy as proof. All landlords in England are required by law to carry out a “right to rent” check before leasing their property to a potential adult tenant.

The Home Office has a free and confidential helpline for undocumented migrants on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 10am - 1pm, on 0207 553 7470, and can offer specialized immigration advice on whether they can apply for a rental permit at the Ministry of the Interior. Please note that if you are doing a manual verification of the right to rent, you will not be able to accept biometric cards or residence permits. If you're from Ukraine (and don't live with a host under the Homes for Ukraine Program or the Ukrainian Family Plan), you can see images of documents you can use to prove your right to rent in the government's specific guide to right to rent checks for Ukrainian citizens. Under these circumstances, landlords must take reasonable steps to end the lease or deliver a notice asking the tenant to leave.

This guide explains what landlords and leasing agents must do in order to comply with the Right to Rent Plan. The landlord must contact the Landlord Verification Service, who will let you know if you have the “right to rent” and provide you with the correct documents. Before renting out a property, it is essential that landlords and leasing agents perform a right-to-rent check. The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) provides information on the housing rights associated with each immigration status, from refugees to people with limited right-to-stay and family members of European citizens.

Everyone who has a legal permit to stay in the UK has the right to rent residential accommodation as their sole or main residence. If you are a long-term resident of the United Kingdom and cannot provide any of the documents from List A, Group 1, List A, Group 2 or List B as proof of your right-to-rent, then landlords should not refuse your application. If the tenant has an unlimited right-to-rent, then verification can be done at any time before the start of the agreement. It says that Commonwealth citizens who have lived in the UK permanently since before 1973 and who have not been outside the UK for extended periods in the past 30 years have the right-to-rent property in England.

If you sublease the property you are renting, it will be your responsibility as landlord or leasing agent  to carry out a verification of the right-to-rent and keep evidence of this before allowing an occupant move in.

Alexa Frisino
Alexa Frisino

Subtly charming web junkie. Incurable zombie nerd. Friendly bacon enthusiast. Avid food lover. Avid social media fan.

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