Right to rent checks - what you need to know
This article provides information on right to rent checks.
What are right to rent checks
The UK Government has introduced a new law that requires all private landlords in England to make right to rent checks starting 1 February 2016. This means checking that tenants have the right to be in the UK.
Who needs a right to rent check
All adults over the age of eighteen, regardless of nationality or immigration status will need a right to rent check including:
- UK Students with a British Passport;
- EEA Students with a EEA Passport;
- Non-EEA students with a passport or biometric residence permit.
The right to rent checks will only apply to new tenancy agreements (this includes where there is a renewed agreement).
Existing tenancy agreements are unaffected and landlords are not required to carry out retrospective checks.
If you rented your property before February 2016, your landlord will not ask to see your documents.
Who carries out the checks
It is the landlord’s responsibility to carry out the checks. If however, the landlord is found that they have not complied with the ‘right to rent’ legislation, they may be liable to a civil penalty for up to £3,000.
How the checks are made
Landlords will be required to carry out right to rent checks by seeing original passports, visa permits or biometric residence permit card - your landlord will advise you what documents they need to see, to ensure that the tenant has the right to rent.
You are required to provide them with the original documents which they will check and copy. You will most likely be asked to show your passport/national ID card and also proof that you are a student at the University of Portsmouth e.g. a copy of your offer letter. Landlords are also expected to keep copies of the documents they check.
We expect that failure or refusal to provide documentation will result in you being refused the opportunity to rent accommodation from the landlord.
Missing documents for the checks
If you do not have your documents, e.g. if you have applied for a visa extension, have an application in progress, or an ongoing immigration case, or your documents are lost, your landlord can use the Home Office ‘checking service’.
You will give the landlord your Home Office reference number and the landlord can then request the evidence from the Home Office here. The Home Office should get back to the landlord within two working days, however you will not be able to move in until the check is complete.
The University will not provide letters to landlords confirming your immigration status. Under the ‘Right to Rent’ rules, the landlord is liable for carrying out the checks.
Please note that if you sublet your room (even with permission from your landlord) you become responsible to carry out all these checks and failure to do, you will be fined £3,000.
Living in halls – do I need a right to rent check?
No. Only students living in private accommodation rented by a landlord are expected to provide evidence of their right to rent in the UK.
Booking accommodation from abroad – what happens with the right to rent check
The landlord can wait to see the original documents until the tenant is about to move in. Therefore, you may be able to book accommodation in advance and then show your original documents just before you actually move into the property.
Please note that the landlord may not allow you access to the property until the checks are complete or if they are not satisfied with the checks when they complete them, therefore we advise you to book a room in a hotel or B&B for the day of your arrival.
Visa expires during tenancy
If your right to rent expires, for example, if you become an overstayer, then your landlord will report this to the Home Office. Your landlord is not required to evict you, but the Home Office may take action.
For more information on right to rent checks follow the links below: