As you may well know, from 1st February 2016 private landlords are required to check that their tenants have permission to live in the UK and therefore have the “right to rent”.

This includes everyone who will be living in the property who is 18 or over, even if they are not named on the tenancy agreement. It also applies if there is no tenancy agreement, or the agreement isn’t in writing.

If you don’t check, you could be fined up to £3,000.

Making a check

  • Find out who will be living there as their only or main home
  • Check their original documents and make sure they are the tenant’s and haven’t been altered, that all the information (e.g. date of birth and photo) is consistent on all and that if any names are different, that they have the supporting documents, such as a marriage certificate
  • Keep a note of the date you make the check
  • Take copies of all the documents and keep them for the duration of the tenancy plus one year
  • Or you can ask your managing agent to run the checks for you, but you should put this in writing

Tenants with a limited right to stay

If the tenant has a limited time they can stay in the UK, you need to:

  • Run the check in the 28 days before the tenancy begins
  • Run another check on their status just before the expiry of their right to stay or 12 months after your last check, depending on which is longest
  • If they don’t have a right to stay at that point, you must tell the Home Office

If the Home Office has the tenant’s documents, then you can use their checking service to find out if you can rent using their Home Office reference number.

Find out more

You can read more about the landlord’s right to rent code of practice here.

David Asker

David is an authorised High Court Enforcement Officer and our Director of Corporate Governance

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