As a landlord, you are legally obliged to check that prospective tenants have the right to rent property in the UK.
You must also carry out these checks if you:
· Have a paying lodger
· Sub-let a property
· Are an agent acting for a landlord
Proof of right to rent
Acceptable documents include official document such as passports, ID cards, registration certificates, residence permits, leave to remain permits and immigration status documents. A full list of prescribed documents and full guidance is available in the Right to Rent Document Check Guidance
Changes due to coronavirus COVID-19
Right to rent checks must still be carried out but they have been temporarily adjusted so that they can still be undertaken during these challenging times.
· Checks can now be carried out by video call
· Scanned documents can be accepted in place of original ones
Unfortunately, some prospective tenants may have difficulty obtaining some of the prescribed documentation, in which case, landlords will need to exercise extra caution and make sure they do not discriminate against anyone. Help and guidance is available in the government’s code of practice guide on avoiding unlawful discrimination – Right to Rent Landlords Code of Practice
If a prospective tenant cannot provide the prescribed documents because they have an appeal outstanding with the Home Office or the Home Office is holding their documents, you can request a Home Office right to rent check.
After Covid-19 measures end
Once the government has announced an end to the measures, you will need to revert to the standard procedure of checking the right to rent.
You will also need to carry out the standard checks retrospectively on any tenant who started their tenancy during the adjusted measure period. This must be carried out within 8 weeks of the measures ending.
During these checks if you find that a tenant no longer has the right to rent you must report this to the Home Office immediately.
If you need advice or guidance on obtaining the appropriate forms or evidencing a tenants rights, call the landlords helpline on 0300 069 9799.
Do you need legal support?
Whether you want ongoing advice and support or just assistance with a one off issue, we can help. See our Landlord Services for more details.