What is Right to Rent? A guide for tenants

What is Right to Rent?

Most people are familiar with the concept of “right to buy” – but what about “Right to Rent”?


The UK’s Right to Rent scheme requires landlords in England to verify that all occupants of their properties are legal residents of the United Kingdom. Before you can rent a home in England, a landlord or letting agent must do passport and immigration checks on each potential renter.

The checks must be carried out on all adults who will be living in the property, and they must be completed before the tenancy agreement is signed.

The scheme was introduced as part of the government’s efforts to reduce illegal immigration. It is hoped that by making it more difficult for people to rent properties without the correct documentation, they will be deterred from coming to the UK in the first place.

Right to Rent checks

When a property is being rented or sublet, or when a person is a paying lodger in England, private landlords are required by law to perform a right to rent check on all adults in the household. In some situations, social housing associations will be obligated to conduct right to rent checks.

Depending on their immigration status, a person will either have the right to rent for life, a time-limited right to rent, no right to rent, or only allowed to stay in the UK for a limited time. The Home Office can sometimes grant permission to rent to individuals who have no legal right to reside in the United Kingdom.

A tenancy agreement is considered to exist when a landlord has confirmed that you have the legal right to do so. The Home Office can be contacted directly if necessary, and it will check your documents or digital status. Some types of housing are not subject to the right to rent rules.

Prove your right to rent in England

The UK government has introduced a new law that requires landlords to check the immigration status of their tenants. This is part of the government’s ‘right to rent’ scheme, which is designed to make it harder for people who are in the country illegally to rent property.

If you’re a landlord, you’ll need to carry out checks on new tenancy before they move in. You’ll need to see their original documents, check that they’re allowed to live in the UK, and make copies of the documents for your records.

The government has published a list of acceptable documents that you can use to carry out the checks. These include passports, visas, and residency permits.

The ‘right to rent’ scheme applies to all properties in England, including privately-rented homes, council houses, and housing association properties. It doesn’t apply to properties in Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland.

Prove your right to rent online

The Home Office has launched an online tool that allows landlords to check the immigration status of their tenants.

To use the tool, you’ll need to create an account and provide some basic information about yourself and your property. You’ll also need to give the tenant’s name, date of birth, biometric residence permit and biometric residence card.

Once you’ve registered, you’ll be able to run a check on any tenant who’s looking to rent property from you. The results of the check will be displayed on screen, and you’ll be able to print them out for your records.

The online tool is available at www.gov.uk/right-to-rent.

Right to Rent for tenants

If you’re a tenant, you’ll need to make sure that you have the right documents to show your landlord. If you don’t, you may find it difficult to rent property in England.

The documents you’ll need to show will depend on your status in the UK. If you’re a European Union (EU) citizen, you’ll need to show your passport or national identity card. If you’re from outside the EU, you’ll need to show your settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme a biometric residence card or biometric residence permit.

You can find out more about the right to rent and what documents you’ll need to show on the Home Office website.

If you don’t have the right documents, your landlord may be liable for a civil penalty.

How do Right to Rent checks affect subletting?

It is essential that you complete a Right to Rent check and retain evidence of it before the tenant moves in if you are subletting a property in England. You will be held responsible for any enforcement action or fines if you do not comply with this requirement.

On your behalf, your landlord may perform these checks, which must be set out in writing and must include a copy as proof.

Who has the right to rent?

In general, most people who live in the UK have the right to rent. This includes British citizens and most foreign nationals who have permission to stay in the UK for a limited or indefinite period of time.

There are some exceptions, including certain types of visa holders and people with a criminal record. You can find out more about who has the right to rent on the Home Office website.

What if you fail a right to rent checks?

If you fail a right to rent check, your landlord will give you a notice informing you that they intend to evict you. You’ll have 28 days to leave the property. You can appeal against a decision if you think it’s wrong. If you’re facing eviction and need somewhere to stay, contact your nearest Citizens Advice.

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