What is a Right to Rent Check?

A landlord will do a Right to Rent check before you finalise your tenancy agreement. As both a tenant and landlord it’s important to understand what is needed for this check and how it works. This guide will get you up to speed on everything you need to know.

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What is a Right to Rent check?

The Right to Rent scheme requires a landlord to check the legal status of all tenants who are living in their property. They are not required to check the status of children under the age of 18, or of guests who stay in the house but do not rent. 

A Right to Rent check consists of a landlord checking identity documents and a Visa if the tenant has one. They will also make copies of these documents and store them securely until the tenancy is over. 

What documents can be used for Right to Rent checks?

A valid passport, EEA/ Swiss ID card or a combination of a valid driving licence and birth certificate can be shown by a tenant for the Right to Rent check. 

A picture of a US passport and ID

What does the Right to Rent check mean for tenants?

In short, the Right to Rent scheme was introduced under the Immigration Act 2014, and it places legal restrictions on illegal immigrants living in rented accomodation. This means that tenants will be expected to present their documents before signing a tenancy agreement, so that the landlord knows that the tenant is in the UK legally beforehand. 

If a tenant fails the Right to Rent check, a landlord (or agent) cannot legally offer them a tenancy. If they are told they cannot legally live in the UK, it is vital that they try and get immigration advice as soon as possible. 

What happens if a landlord doesn’t have the Right to Rent doc?

If the Home Office finds that everyone in the home does not have the right to rent in the UK, they will send a disqualification notice to the landlord. Once a landlord has received this, if they do not act they will be committing a criminal offence. 

A key, small wooden house and piece of paper saying 'eviction notice'

This means that a landlord can evict a tenant without a court order. They must give the tenant(s) a four week eviction notice, that clearly states the date that the tenant must have vacated the property by. After this date, a landlord is able to change the locks on the property, as the tenancy has officially ended. 

It is important to note that while a landlord does not need a court order to evict a tenant in these circumstances, they cannot use force or threaten you as a way to make you leave. 

If some people in the property do not have a right to rent 

If the Home Office discovers that some people have the right to rent and others do not, a landlord must give notice and get a court eviction order. Those with the right to rent in the UK can negotiate with the landlord and try to reach an agreement about whether or not they can stay.

Having the right to rent in the UK is important, as otherwise a tenant may find themselves in a sticky situation with no accommodation. It’s vital to ensure that their Visas are up to date and that they have all the necessary ID documentation, especially if a tenant is from overseas. 

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