What is Right to Rent Law?

Right to Rent Law

Under Right To Rent Law, landlords throughout England, effective February 1, 2016, are obliged to exercise necessary checks to ensure if any tenant to whom they have the intent to let out their property has the right to rent their property or not.


For LandlordFor Tenants
New tenancies starting on or after February 1, 2016Who are starting a tenancy on or after 1 February 2016 
Property occupied by anyone aged 18 or over who pays to use his property as their main home, including tenants, sub-tenants and paying house guests, whether named in the tenancy agreement or not in whose tenancy there is a break and it started on or after 1 February 2016
Recently bought out property already occupied by tenantsonly have to prove their right to rent a property if they are renting it as their main home



No need to prove your right to rent if you live in:

  • student accommodation, eg halls of residence
  • accommodation provided by your employer as part of your job or training
  • social housing
  • accommodation provided for or arranged by the council
  • hostels and refuges run by charities or social landlords
  • a care home, hospital or hospice
  • accommodation with a lease of 7 or more years


There is a list of prescribed documents. However a landlord or letting agent must:

  • check original documents to ensure that tenant has a right to rent a property in UK
  • check documents of any other adults living in the property
  • make copies of the tenants documents and keep them until he leaves the property
  • return the original documents to the tenant once the check has been finished

Failure to provide evidence of a right to rent will render the tenant ineligible to rent a property in England. The landlord however, cannot discriminate against any nationality.


Checks must be carried out within 28 days before the start of a new tenancy.

How to determine it is Tenants Main Home

A property would be a tenant’s only or main home if:

  • they live there most of the time
  • they keep most of their belongings in such home
  • their partner or children lives with them
  • they’re registered to vote at the property
  • they’re registered with the doctor using that address

Who can carry out these checks

Landlords can ask any agents that manage or let their property to carry out the check for them through an agreement in writing.

If a tenant sub-lets the property without the knowledge of the landlord, they are responsible for carrying out checks on any sub-tenants and failure to follow the correct procedure will render them liable to any civil penalties.

What landlords need to check

Landlords must read illegal immigrants and private rented accommodation guidance and:-

  • Check which adults are living at the rented property as their only or main home.
  • See original documents that allow tenants to live in the UK.
  • Check documents are genuine and belong to the tenant, with the tenant present.
  • Make and keep copies of the documents and record dates when checks were made.
  • Dates for the tenant’s right to stay in the UK haven’t expired
  • Photos on the documents are of the tenant
  • Dates of birth are the same in all documents
  • Documents are verifiable and don’t look altered
  • if names are different on documents, supporting documents eg marriage certificate or divorce decree are available

If the tenant is arranging their tenancy from overseas, Landlords must see their original documents before they start living at the property.

When the tenant does not pass a further check

Repeat checks

No further check if the tenants stay in the same property and either:

  • they are British nationals or from an EEA country
  • they have no time limit on their right to stay in the UK

Repeat checks by landlords:-

  • if tenant has a time limit as to his right to stay in the UK, e.g tenant is on a visa.
  • Re-verify tenants documents before his permission to stay runs out, or after 12 months, whichever is longer.

Record keeping

Landlords are required to follow the Data Protection Law and ensure

  • copy passport pages showing applicant’s details such as nationality, birth date photograph), expiry date, work visa or entitlement of right of abode in the UK
  • copy both sides of biometric residence permits
  • make a complete copy of all the tenancy related documents
  • record the date the copy was made
  • Keep copies of the tenant’s documents for the period of tenancy 1 year after.

Failure to exercise checks

Landlords can be fined if the property is rented to someone who isn’t allowed to stay in the UK and they cannot show that they have checked the right to rent of the tenants, which is subject to appeal, as per following scale:-

                                                                                      First time  fine                           Further penalties

Lodgers in a private accommodation:                       £     80                                                 £    500

Tenants in a rented accommodation:                         £1,000                                                 £ 3,000

Free Consultation

  • The new law on immigration right to rent checks is complex and can subject the landlords to severe penalties.
    • Care4properties can help you with Right to Rent compliance.
    • Give us a call on 0113-2488181 for a free consultation
    • Or email us at info@care4properties.co.uk
    • Or text us at 07528 793486.

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