Right to Rent Guide
All Landlords & Letting Agents should be doing this
Who to Check
- You must check that a tenant or lodger can legally rent your residential property in England.
Before the start of a new tenancy, you must check all tenants aged 18 and over, even if:
- they’re not named on the tenancy agreement
- there’s no tenancy agreement
- the tenancy agreement isn’t in writing
Check all new tenants. It’s against the law to only check people you think aren’t British citizens.
If the tenant is only allowed to stay in the UK for a limited time, you need to do the check in the 28 days before the start of the tenancy.
How to do a check
- Check which adults will use your property as their main home (your ‘tenants’).
- Ask them for original documentsthat prove they can live in the UK, for example a biometric residence permit or a birth certificate with a Council Tax bill.
- Check that the documents give them the right to rentyour property.
- Check that each tenant’s documents are genuine and belong to them, with the tenant present.
- Make and keep copiesof the documents and record the date you made the check.
You can be fined up to £3,000 for renting your property to someone who isn’t allowed to rent property in England.
The Government have a comprehensive guide which shows accecptable documents and can be found here :
Check their original documents
When you’re with the tenant, you need to check that:
- the documents are originals and belong to the tenant
- their permission to stay in the UK hasn’t ended
- the photos on the documents are of the tenant
- the dates of birth are the same in all documents (and are believable)
- the documents aren’t too damaged or don’t look like they’ve been changed
- if any names are different on documents, there are supporting documents to show why, such as a marriage certificate or divorce decree
If the tenant is arranging their tenancy from overseas, you must see their original documents before they start living at the property.
If the tenant doesn’t have the right documents
You must use the landlord’s checking service to check whether the tenant’s allowed to rent without the right documents if:
- the Home Office has their documents
- they have an outstanding case or appeal with the Home Office
- the Home Office told them they have ‘permission to rent’
You’ll get an answer within 2 working days.
You’ll need the tenant’s Home Office reference number to use the service.
Don’t rent a property to someone in England if they don’t have the right documents and the landlord’s checking service tells you they aren’t allowed to rent.