Right to rent checks
Private landlords and letting agents must carry out a ‘right to rent’ check before they can rent their property. This means that they will need to check the immigration status of anyone aged 18 or over who will be living in the property.
WHO MUST THE LANDLORD CHECK?
All potential tenants must provide the required documentation to prove they have a right to rent in the UK. Right to rent checks are also needed for those entering into a lodger agreement with a resident landlord.
Right to rent checks are only required if your tenancy/lodger agreement (in Colchester) started on or after 1st February 2016 (there are other dates applicable if you rent in other parts of the UK).
A landlord cannot rent a room/property if you are unable to show you have the right to rent. All adults living in the property will need to prove they also have the right to rent, this includes partners, grown-up children etc. Guests, whose main home is elsewhere and who don’t pay you any rent do not need to be checked. Children under the age of 18 do not need to be checked, however, the landlord or letting agent may wish to see proof that any children are under the age of 18.
HOW CAN I PROVE MY RIGHT TO RENT?
The Landlord or letting agent will require you to provide documents that confirm your immigration status in the UK. They are required to keep copies of your official documents (and keep these safely).
The UK Government produces a list of acceptable documents that can be used to confirm someone’s right to rent in the UK - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/right-to-rent-document-checks-a-user-guide
WHO HAS THE RIGHT TO RENT IN THE UK?
You have the right to rent in the UK if:
- You are a British or Irish Citizen
- You are a citizen of a country in the EU or EEA
- You are a citizen of another country and have no time limit on your permission to stay in the UK (e.g. indefinite leave to remain).
You may have ‘time-limited’ right to rent in the UK if you have a time-limit on your permission to stay in the UK. For example, students in the UK with a Tier 4 visa. If you have a ‘time-limited’ right to rent, your landlord or letting agent will need to do follow up checks on your right to rent. The deadlines for these checks are the latest of the following dates:
- 12 months after the last check
- The date your permission to stay in the UK expires
- The expiry date of your passport or other document that shows your right to be in the UK
These follow-up checks can be carried out up to 28 days before the relevant deadline.
CAN A LANDLORD REFUSE ME ACCOMMODATION?
The right to rent scheme applies to all prospective adult renters/lodgers regardless of their nationality. If you cannot provide the required documents to prove your right to rent in the UK the Landlord must refuse to rent to you – there are large fines and Civil Penalty Notices that can be incurred if the Landlord or agent has not carried out the checks correctly. It is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure the correct documents are provided and copies kept securely, but it is the tenants responsibility to provide these documents when asked.
The right to rent checks should not be used by Landlords or Agents to discriminate against international students or those with time-limited leave to remain in the UK. If you feel you have been discriminated against please contact SU Advice to discuss your options to report these actions.
WHAT IF SOMEONE IN MY HOUSE DOESN’T HAVE THE RIGHT TO RENT
In these cases the landlord must take steps to end your tenancy. They can take steps to evict everyone living in the property (including children) and those who do have the right to rent. The landlord must follow the correct legal process to do so.