Right To Rent

The Immigration Act 2014 introduced new restrictions that apply to private residential rental agreements. Before you accept a new tenant, you’re required to perform a check that they have the right to live and rent in the UK. 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, and
  • the tenancy agreement isn’t in writing

You’ll need to check all new tenants

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.

The checks are modelled on the ‘right to work’ checks employers have performed for many years. In most cases, the checks will involve a face value examination of documents such as a passport, a permanent residence card or a biometric immigration document. You’ll need to keep copies of the documentation as evidence the checks have been carried out and retain them for one year after the tenancy ends.

In cases where the documents aren’t available, you can find out if a potential tenant has the right to live in the UK using an online checker. To help you comply with the legislation, you can use a simple online toolkit or call the dedicated landlord helpline on 0300 069 9799.

There are some types of accommodation for which these checks aren't necessary. These include social housing and care homes. You can find a full list of these types of properties on the government website.

You can use the Home Office online checking service to check someone’s right to rent if your tenant:

  • has a valid biometric residence card or permit (BRC/P)
  • has settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS)
  • has an eVisa

You can also check someone’s original documents instead - for example if you do not have a share code. Follow the guidance on the Government website on how to do this.

To help you comply with the legislation, the Government have published a step-by-step guide to completing the checks.

From 1 July 2021, the Government updated their guidelines after the EU Settlement Scheme deadline passed. They have published a factsheet to help landlords learn about what they need to do to check the rights of EU, EEA and Swiss citizens who are or prospective tenants from 1 July 2021.

Read the guidance

You can also obtain more information about the act and your obligations via the following links:

Rent Smart Wales

If you’re a landlord or letting agent in Wales, you’re probably aware that the Welsh Government has separate rules and regulations for the Welsh Private Rented Sector (PRS), under The Housing (Wales) Act 2014.

Read more about these obligations