As of October 2022, landlords have more options than ever to check the identities of people who wish to rent property from them. Landlords are legally required to check the immigration status of the people who are going to be living in their properties. These checks apply not only to the person who is named on the tenancy agreement, but also all other adults who will be living there. Right to rent checks therefore involve landlords seeing passports for their tenants, showing their nationality and immigration status.
Landlords have a few options for carrying out these checks. Firstly, they might ask tenants to provide their documents in person. This is the simplest method but can also be time consuming for landlord and tenant. The new online options for right to rent checking involves using the government’s right to rent checking service, or by contracting the process out to other companies such as Clear Check which can run the checks on landlords’ behalf. Checks are usually carried out when a tenant first moves into a property, but many landlords will repeat these checks regularly, perhaps annually, to make sure that their tenants have not had a change in immigration status.
Who Is Allowed to Rent?
Landlords have to keep up with the law to make sure they are renting to people who are in the UK legally. This could be someone who is a British or Irish citizen, or who is from another country but who has been granted indefinite leave to remain. Some EU citizens also have settled status, and overseas students have the right to live and study in the UK too. Immigration law is complicated and ever-changing. Landlords run the risk of fines if they get it wrong and are found to be renting property to people in the UK illegally, and this is why so many choose to use an expert third party to do it for them.
Key Identity Documents
For people who are not citizens of the UK or Ireland, landlords will expect to see a passport or other official paperwork which clearly states their right to be in the UK. British and Irish citizens can show their passports to confirm nationality, or other identity documents such as driving licence or birth certificate.
Online checks involve asking the prospective tenant to give a “share code” and their date of birth to the landlord. This allows the landlord to log into the government portal and look at the applicant’s information.
What Happens If I Fail a Check?
If your landlord can’t verify that you are in the UK legally, then you cannot be offered a tenancy agreement. People may fail a check either because they are in the UK illegally, or more commonly, because they cannot provide the correct paperwork. The landlord may ask for a follow-up check, and if you are still unable to verify your identity and prove your nationality, landlords are also obliged to report the case to the Home Office.