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What is Right to Rent?

Right to Rent requires the landlord to check that any person over the age of 18 is legally entitled to live or remain in the UK. It is important that this check is done on all ingoing tenants over the age of 18, not just those who you suspect of remaining illegally.

If you are the managing agent, and so responsible for the tenants entering the property, then you will be expected to make the checks on your landlord’s behalf. Similarly if you offer a Finder’s Service, you as the agent will be responsible for undertaking the Right to Rent check.

How do I carry out checks?

First, check if the property is used as the tenant’s only or main home. A property would usually be a tenant’s only or main home if;

  • they live there most of the time
  • they keep most of their belongings there
  • their partner or children live with them
  • they’re registered to vote at the property
  • they’re registered with the doctor using that address

You need to see original documents that confirm the tenant is legally entitled to live or remain in the UK. This check must be done in person. You must be satisfied that the documents are genuine and that they belong to the tenant. You must make and keep copies of the documents and ensure a record of when you made the check is retained. You must retain these copies whilst they are a tenant and for one year thereafter.

UK National vs Foreign National

If the person is a UK national or holds an EU passport then they automatically have the Right to Rent in this country. If they do not then you will need further evidence such as;

  • Passport or travel document endorsed with unlimited leave
  • UK immigration status document endorsed with unlimited leave
  • Non-EEA national residence card

A full list of acceptable documentation is available here.

What to look out for

When looking at the documentation you need to check;

  • that the documents are originals and belong to the tenant
  • that the dates for the tenant’s right to stay in the UK haven’t expired
  • that the photos on the documents are of the tenant
  • that the dates of birth are the same in all documents (and are believable)
  • that the documents aren’t too damaged or don’t look like they’ve been changed
  • if any names are different on documents, there are supporting documents to show why, e.g. marriage certificate or divorce decree
  • if the tenant is arranging their tenancy from overseas, you must see their original documents before they move in to the property.
  • It may be that the tenants documents are with the home office in which can you can use confirm with them using the details provided here

compliance in a boxCompliance in a Box

Our Compliance in a Box system allows you to;

  • verify the validity of any ID
  • check whether you need further evidence such as a visa or biometric residency permit
  • confirm whether this supporting documentation is genuine
  • store checks and copies of all documents that are checked with a time stamped audit trail

There is a detailed guide which has been produced by the government on checking documents here.

The link to the full government website on Right to Rent is here.

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The ETSOS quote and referral system is a free useful tool in keeping conveyancing work where it belongs: i.e. on the local high street! It is an essential way to prepare for the inevitable onslaught of Tesco law Gary Rycroft – Partner, Joseph A Jones & Co Solicitors

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