Whether you’re a landlord, housing agent or householder letting private rented accommodation, or someone living in a property as a tenant or occupier and sublets all of part of the property/takes in a lodger, you have a duty of care to conduct right to rent checks to ensure you’re staying compliant with the law.

Here’s what you need to know.

 (Updated as of 06 April 2020)

Right to rent

  • The right to rent scheme has been in effect nationwide in England since 1 February 2016
  • It refers to any individual (18 and over) who can be in the UK and have a right to rent
  • If the landlord, agent or householder renting the property fails to conduct this check and the occupier has no right to rent, there may be a civil penalty to pay
  • Original acceptable documents bust be obtained and checked before allowing the occupant to live in the property

Right to rent immigration checks: landlords’ code of practice

“Housing illegal immigrants in the private rented sector allows such people to establish a settled life in the UK and frustrate the necessary process of returning them to their home country. This creates a significant cost to the public purse and reduces the amount of housing stock available to British citizens and others residing here legally.”

  • As a landlord, you have a responsibility to restrict illegal immigrants accessing the private rented sector
  • “Under the scheme, people will fall into 3 broad categories depending on their immigration status. Most people will have an unlimited right to rent, others will have a time-limited right to rent and some will have no right to rent.”
  • Unlimited right to rent:
    • British citizens, EEA and Swiss nationals
    • people who have the right of abode in the UK, or who have been granted indefinite leave to remain or have no time limit on their stay in the UK
  • Limited time to rent:
    • Those with valid leave to enter or remain in the UK for a limited period
    • Those entitled to enter or remain in the UK as a result of an enforceable right under European Union law or any provision made under section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972
  • “A landlord, agent or householder will have a statutory excuse against a civil penalty if they can show that they have correctly carried out right to rent checks, including any follow-up checks if necessary, and made any required report to the Home Office”

Code of practice for landlords: avoiding unlawful discrimination when conducting ‘right to rent’ checks in the private rented residential sector

The Immigration Act 2014 introduced a prohibition on renting premises to adults who do not have a right to stay here for use as their only or main home. This is to deter illegal immigration and prevent illegal immigrants from accessing our finite housing stock and displacing lawful residents. It will also help ensure that those people who do not have the right to be in the UK are prevented from establishing a settled life here. Landlords who breach this prohibition may be subject to a civil penalty.”

  • Though landlords should ensure they are compliant with the scheme, they must ensure they act in accordance with equality legislation
  • It is unlawful to discriminate in letting practises based on race, which includes, nationality, colour or ethnic origin
  • By having a statutory excuse, a landlord will be protected from liability for a civil penalty if the person in question is an illegal immigrant, whilst also demonstrating consistent, transparent and non-discriminatory letting practices
  • This code of practice is relevant to all landlords of private rental accommodation and thus subsequent agents who are under obligation to ensure they uphold this practice
  • Though this is a statutory code approved by the Secretary of State, the code does not impose any legal duties on landlords, nor is it an authoritative statement of the law; only the Courts can provide that
  • “As a matter of good practice, landlords and their agents should apply the right to rent checks in a fair, justifiable and consistent manner, regardless as to whether they believe the prospective tenant to be British, settled or a person with limited permission to be here.”

Right to rent document checks: a user guide

The documents required to provide proof of the right to rent are grouped differently. Here’s what you need to know.

List A (group 1): acceptable single documents which show an unlimited right to rent

  • UK passport EEA/
  • Swiss national passport/identity card
  • Registration Certificate or document certifying permanent residence of EEA/Swiss national
  • EEA/Swiss family member Permanent Residence card
  • Biometric Residence Permit with unlimited leave
  • Passport or travel document endorsed with unlimited leave
  • UK immigration status document endorsed with unlimited leave
  • A certificate of naturalisation or registration as a British citizen

List A (group 2): acceptable document combinations which show an unlimited right to rent (any 2 of the below to be shown in combination)

  • UK birth or adoption certificate
  • Full or provisional UK driving license
  • A letter from HM Prison Service
  • A letter from a UK Government Department or Local Authority
  • A letter from National Offender Management Service Evidence of current or previous service in UK armed forces
  • A letter from a police force confirming that certain documents have been reported stolen
  • A letter from a private rented sector access scheme
  • A letter of attestation from an employer
  • A letter from a UK further or higher education institution
  • A letter of attestation from a UK passport holder working in an acceptable profession
  • Benefits paperwork Criminal Record Check

List B documents which show a time-limited right to rent

  • A valid passport endorsed with a time-limited period
  • Biometric immigration document with permission to stay for time-limited period
  • Non-EEA national residence card
  • UK immigration status document with a time limited endorsement from Home Office

Please be advised that the above information is not exhaustive as there are more requirements and points to consider.

For more information on right to rent checks, send an email to info@compasslaw.org.uk or contact us on 01204 531 535 to book a telephone/Skype consultation. The fee is £30.

To limit the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), until further notice, our drop-in service and all scheduled appointments will be held remotely. Please be advised that whilst our remote drop-in service will be held on Mondays between 10am – 1:30pm, our Friday service (usually held in Preston) has been cancelled for the foreseeable future.

Thank you for your cooperation and stay safe.

Compass Immigration Law LTD:

“The direct route to immigration expertise.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *