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Free Right to Rent Checks

From 1st February 2016, ALL landlords in England will need to check that someone has the right to live in the UK before letting a property to them. This includes landlords who take in lodgers or sub-let property.

In most cases you'll be able to carry out the checks without contacting the Home Office. All you need to do is check evidence of a person’s identity and citizenship, for example a passport or biometric residence permit. You are not expected to be an expert in any or all of the various passports and identity documents that you might see.

The right to rent checks only apply to:

  • All adults aged 18 and over living at the property
  • New tenancy agreements starting on or after 1 February 2016 (unless within Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton when it was implemented from 1st December 2014)

If you let a property after this date to someone who doesn’t have the right to rent, you could be fined up to £3,000.

Important Notice for Agents & Landlords

The Home Office have advised us in writing of the following:

"We would suggest that potential suppliers understand that the checks will require the person checking to see both the original documents and tenants together and in person, that a landlord may agree in writing for an agent to conduct such checks and for that agent to then carry any liability arising. As this requires both sight of the original document at the same time as the tenant then it is not expected that this check could be carried out by an external third party UNLESS they can have both sight of the original document at the same time as the tenant and will provide an indemnity to the Landlord/Agents. It is not possible to give comprehensive details of all travel and identity documents but there are some features in many documents that any person can look for and which may give you confidence that the document is likely to be genuine.”

Guidance for landlords affected by the introduction of right to rent immigration checks.