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Right To Rent – Landlords Need To Be Aware

From the 1st February 2016, Landlords and Letting Agents must check that their tenants and any other permitted adult occupiers have the ‘Right to Rent’. As from this date, all prospective adult occupiers over the age of 18 will need to provide acceptable documentation to prove that they have the right to reside and therefore rent within England. The new changes will only impact on tenancies that commence on or after 1st February 2016.

The responsibility for carrying out the checks fall on the Landlord, Agent or householder, who is letting private rented accommodation. Where a Managing Agent has been instructed, the responsibility of checking prospective tenants ‘Right to Rent’ falls on them and not the Landlord. If, however, a Letting Agent establishes that a person does not have the right to rent, and reports the matter to the Landlord in writing, should a residential tenancy commence with the said parties, the Landlord will then be liable to a penalty. Under the new rules, Landlords who fail to comply could face penalties of up to £3,000.00 per adult occupier.

In order to comply with the new changes and in making ‘Right to Rent’ checks, a Landlord, Letting Agent or householder should check the following prior to creating a residential tenancy;

  1. Check which adult occupiers will live in the property as their only or main home.
  2. Verify and take copies of acceptable documents (as outlined below) for each adult occupier. Record the date of verification and noting any expiry dates of a person’s right to be in the UK.

There are various documents which are considered acceptable for a person to demonstrate their right to rent, and are defined within two lists – List A and List B.

List A – contains documents which are acceptable to prove that a person has the right to rent in England indefinitely. List A documents establish a continuous statutory excuse, meaning follow-up checks are not necessary.

List B –contains documents which are acceptable to prove that a person has the right to rent in England for a limited time period. List B documents establish a time-limited statutory excuse. Landlords, Agents, householders must repeat checks at the expiry of a person’s rights to be in the UK or 12 months from when the initial checks were made. If repeat checks indicate that an occupier no longer has the right to rent, a report to the Home Office must be made.

List A – Group 1 – Acceptable single documents

  1. A passport (current or expired) showing that the holder is a British citizen or a citizen of the UK and Colonies having the right of abode in the UK.
  2. A passport or national identity card (current or expired) showing that the holder is a national of the European Economic Area or Switzerland.
  3. A registration certificate or document (current or expired) certifying or indicating permanent residence issued by the Home Office, to a national of a European Union, European Economic Area country or Switzerland.
  4. A permanent residence card, indefinite leave to remain, indefinite leave to enter or no time limit card issued by the Home Office (current or expired), to a non-EEA national who is a family member of an EEA or Swiss national.
  5. A biometric immigration document issued by the Home Office to the holder indicating that the person named is allowed to stay indefinitely in the UK, or has no time limit on their stay in the UK. The document must be valid (not expired) at the time the right to rent check is made.
  6. A passport or other travel document (current or expired) endorsed to show that the holder is exempt from immigration control, is allowed to stay indefinitely in the UK, has the right of abode in the UK, or has no time limit on their stay in the UK.
  7. A current immigration status document containing a photograph issued by the Home Office to the holder with an endorsement that the named person is permitted to stay indefinitely in the UK or has no time limit on their stay in the UK. The document must be valid (not expired) at the time the right to rent check is
  8. A certificate of registration or naturalisation as a British citizen.

List B – Group 2 – Acceptable document combinations

1.  Any two of the following documents when produced in any combination:

a) A full birth or adoption certificate issued in the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or Ireland, which includes the name(s) of at least one of the holder’s parents or adoptive parents.

b) A letter issued within the last 3 months confirming the holder’s name, issued by a UK government department or local authority and signed by a named official (giving their name and professional address), or signed by a British passport holder (giving their name, address and passport number), or issued by a person who employs the holder (giving their name and company address) confirming the holder’s status as an employee.

c) A letter from a UK police force confirming the holder is a victim of crime and personal documents have been stolen, stating the crime reference number, issued within the last 3 months.

d) Evidence (identity card, document of confirmation issued by one of HM forces, confirmation letter issued by the Secretary of State) of the holder’s previous or current service in any of HM’s UK armed forces.

e) A letter from HM Prison Service, the Scottish Prison Service or the Northern Ireland Prison Service confirming the holder’s name, date of birth, and that they have been released from custody of that service in the past 3 months; or a letter from an officer of the National Offender Management Service in England and Wales, an officer of a local authority in Scotland or an officer of the Probation Board for Northern Ireland confirming that the holder is the subject of an order requiring supervision by that officer.

f) Letter from a UK further or higher education institution confirming the holder’s acceptance on a course of studies.

g) A current full or provisional UK driving licence (both the photo card and paper counterpart must be shown).

h) A current UK firearm or shotgun certificate.

i) Disclosure and Barring Service certificate issued within the last 3 months.

j) Benefits paperwork issued by HMRC, Local Authority or a Job Centre Plus, on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions or the Northern Ireland Department for Social Development, within the 3 months prior to commencement of tenancy.

A guide for Landlords has been published by the Government and can be downloaded from:

Also available via – Code of Practice on illegal Immigrants and Private Rented Accommodation which provides useful information relating to ‘Right to Rent’ and the Immigration Act.

Where a person’s status is unclear, the Home Office is to provide additional support which aims to respond to queries within two days.

For further information please do not hesitate to contact:

[team-member name=”Sean Skelton”]

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