Right-to-Rent Checks – Are You Ready For Imminent Changes?

New legislation which will see landlords face fines if they rent homes to illegal immigrants without carrying out ‘right to rent’ checks is to be rolled out from the 1st December 2014.

Right-to-Rent-Checks

Landlords letting property in Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton are the first to be required to carry out the checks and if found to be in breach, could face fines up to £3,000. The legislation will be rolled out to the rest of the Country during 2015.

Immigration and Security Minister James Brokenshire has commented:

“The right to rent checks are quick and simple, but will make it more difficult for immigration offenders to stay in the country when they have no right to be here.”

“They (the checks) will also act as a new line of attack against unscrupulous landlords who exploit people by renting out substandard, overcrowded and unsafe accommodation.”

How do landlords comply with Right-to-Rent checks?

Landlords will need to see evidence of a prospective tenant’s identity and citizenship, for example a passport or biometric residence permit. A full list provided below.

Copies of the documentation will need to be taken as evidence that the checks have been carried out, dated by the landlord and must be kept on file for one year after the tenancy ends.

Children under 18 will not need to be checked.

What documentation will be accepted as proof of Right-to-Rent?

There are 2 lists of documentation that are acceptable.

It is important to note that LIST A proves the tenants right to rent indefinitely, whereas LIST B only proves the right to rent for a limited time only and the landlord will be required to carry out follow up checks within a time period:

a) one year, beginning with the date on which the checks were last made, or
b) the period of the person’s leave to be in the UK, or
c) the period for which the person’s evidence of their right to be in the UK is valid.

LIST A

You are required to see either one document from group 1 OR two documents from group 2.

Group 1:-

  • A passport (current or expired) showing the holder is a British citizen or a citizen of the UK and Colonies having the right of abode in the UK.
  • A passport or national identity card (current or expired) showing the holder is a national of the EEA or Switzerland.
  • A Registration Certificate or document (current or expired) certifying permanent residence issued by the Home Office, to a national of an EU country, EEA country or Switzerland.
  • A Permanent Residence Card, indefinite leave to remain, indefinite leave to enter or no time limit card issued by the Home Office, to a non-EEA national the family member of a national of a EU country, EEA country or Switzerland.
  • A valid Biometric Residence Permit 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.
  • A passport (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.
  • A valid immigration status document issued by the Home Office to the holder with an endorsement indicating that the named person is permitted to stay indefinitely in the UK or has no time limit on their stay in the UK.
  • A certificate of registration or naturalisation as a British citizen.

Group 2:-

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

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Letter from a UK further or higher education institution confirming the holder’s acceptance on a course of studies.
  • A current full or provisional UK driving licence both the photocard and paper counterpart must be shown).
  • A current UK firearm or shotgun certificate.
  • Disclosure and Barring Service certificate issued within the last 3 months.
  • 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.

LIST B

Documents where a time-limited statutory excuse is established

  • A valid passport or other travel document endorsed to show that the holder is allowed to stay in the UK for a time- limited period.
  • A current biometric immigration document issued by the Home Office to the holder, which indicates that the named person is permitted to stay in the UK for a time limited period.
  • A current residence card(including an accession residence card or a derivative residence card) issued by the Home Office to a non-EEA national who is either a family member of an EEA or Swiss national or has a derivative right of residence.
  • A current immigration status document issued by the Home Office to the holder with a valid endorsement indicating that the named person may stay in the UK for a time-limited period.
  • In the case that the person has an ongoing application with the Home Office, or their documents are with the Home Office, or they claim to have a discretionary right to rent, an email from the Landlords Checking Service providing a “yes” response to a right to rent request. This will only be sent to the landlord by the Landlords Checking Service

Download a 2 page PDF with a list of the acceptable document evidence required for right to rent checks.

Where can I go for help?

For those landlords letting property through LettingaProperty.com and using our tenant referencing service will be supported to comply with the Immigration Act.

All tenants are requested to provide evidence of original documentation aforementioned at time of viewing. We believe that this will assist in reducing any time wasted proceeding with an application where the tenant has not got a right to rent a property in the UK. Tenants will be reminded of this requirement at time of booking a viewing.

More information about how to carry out a right to rent check is available online at www.Gov.uk including eligibility for a free online Home Office checking service to confirm whether someone has a right to rent.

For landlords letting in the Midlands, you can use this postcode checker to see if you are under obligation to start with the right to rent checks.

A helpline (0300 069 9799) is also available.

UPDATE: Sign up to our landlord newsletter to download a landlord checklist and Right to Rent form for your tenants to complete before you start your tenancy.

About Jonathan Daines

After having worked as a high street letting agent for over 5 years, I believed there was a better way of helping landlords find tenants without the unnecessary expenses. And so in 2008, lettingaproperty.com was born and has since let over 8,000 properties across the country. I am very proud of the service levels we offer and to have achieved a 99.3% recommendation rate on reviewcentre.com. If you have any questions about our business, please do let me know. I look forward to hearing from you.

4 Comments

    August 5, 2019 REPLY

    Driving licence paper copy no longer legal

    November 8, 2014 REPLY

    EEA – European Economic Area which includes Switzerland, why then name it separately?

    October 19, 2014 REPLY

    How does this affect prospective tenants who were born in the UK but never had reason or finances to obtain a passport? Surely other documents like UK birth certificates should be allowed as evidence, otherwise they have to find the money to pay for a first passport or a renewal, and this would be unacceptable. I’m thinking of a friend in the pilot area who has mild learning difficulties but arranges his own rental accommodation without any social work support, and he has never had a passport.

      October 20, 2014 REPLY

      Christine, thanks for the question and you are quite right… We contacted the helpline to confirm (who were actually very helpful!) a birth certificate IS an acceptable proof as long as it is seen with another document from list A, group 2. We have updated the article above with both lists of acceptable proof of right to rent.

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