If you’re a landlord letting private rented accommodation, a landlord or occupier allowing a lodger to live in a property, or a tenant or occupier sub-letting a property, you are responsible for carrying out a Right to Rent check
And it’s a serious responsibility – if you get it wrong and you let a property to someone without the ‘right to rent’ in the UK, you could be liable for a £3,000 fine.
It is estimated that over five million Right to Rent checks will need to be carried out in 2016, andwith less than a month to go until the the deadline of February 1st when the legislation comes into force, many people are still unsure of what exactly they should be doing.
Who exactly should I be checking?
Clarify the names of all of the tenants over the age of 18 who will be living at the address, whether they are named on the tenancy agreement or not. You have to make sure that you know the names of every single person who will be treating the property as their primary address, even if they will not be living there seven days a week.
Remember that you may not have referenced all of these individuals, but it is important to be as accurate as you can with this information.
Arrange to liaise with every person who will be living with the property face-to-face and confirm that they have documentation that will serve as identification. You are also able to verify identification via a video link.
What should I be checking?
There are three lists of acceptable forms of identification.
‘List A, Group 1’ only requires one form of identification. It includes:
A passport (current or expired) showing that the holder is a British citizen or a citizen of the UK and Colonies having the right of abode in the UK.
A passport or national identity card (current or expired) showing that the holder is a national of the EEA (European Economic Area) or Switzerland.
A registration certificate or document (current or expired) certifying or indicating permanent residence issued by the Home Office, to a national of a European Union, European Economic Area country or Switzerland.
A permanent residence card, indefinite leave to remain, indefinite leave to enter or no time limit card issued by the Home Office (current or expired), to a non-EEA national who is a family member of an EEA or Swiss national.
A biometric immigration document issued by the Home Office to the holder indicating that the person named is allowed to stay indefinitely in the UK, or has no time limit on their stay in the UK. The document must be valid at the time of the check.
A passport or other travel document (current or expired) endorsed to show that the holder is exempt from immigration control and is allowed to stay indefinitely in the UK
A current immigration status document containing a photograph issued by the Home Office to the holder with an endorsement indicating that the named person is permitted to stay indefinitely in the UK or has no time limit on their stay in the UK. The document must be valid at the time of the check
A certificate of registration or naturalisation as a British citizen
Two of the following documents from ‘List A, Group 2’ would also be acceptable. These documents must be produced together and they must be dated to show they were issued within the specified date shown, and contain the full name of the prospective tenant.
- A full birth or adoption certificate issued in the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or Ireland, which includes the name(s) of at least one of the holder’s parents or adoptive parents.
- A letter issued within the last 3 months confirming the holder’s name, issued by a UK government department or local authority and signed by a named official (giving their name and professional address), or signed by a British passport holder (giving their name, address and passport number), or issued by a person who employs the holder (giving their name and company address) confirming the holder’s status as an employee.
- A letter from a UK police force confirming the holder is a victim of crime and personal documents have been stolen, stating the crime reference number, issued within the last 3 months.
- Evidence (identity card, document of confirmation issued by one of HM forces, confirmation letter issued by the Secretary of State) of the holder’s previous or current service in any of HM’s UK armed forces.
- A letter from HM Prison Service, the Scottish Prison Service or the Northern Ireland Prison Service confirming the holder’s name, date of birth; or a letter from an officer of the National Offender Management Service in England and Wales, an officer of a local authority in Scotland or an officer of the Probation Board for Northern Ireland.
- Letter from a UK further or higher education institution confirming the holder’s acceptance on a course of studies.
- A current full or provisional UK driving licence (a photo card without paper counterpart is acceptable). A current UK firearm or shotgun certificate.
- Disclosure and Barring Service certificate issued within the last 3 months.
- Benefits paperwork issued by HMRC, Local Authority or a Job Centre Plus, on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions or the Northern Ireland Department for Social Development, within the last 3 months.
‘List B’ documents are to be used when a time limited excuse is established.
- A valid passport or other travel document endorsed to show that the holder is allowed to stay in the
- A current biometric immigration document issued by the Home Office to the holder, which indicates that the named person is permitted to stay in the UK for a time limited period – you MUST copy both sides of this document.
- A current residence card (including an accession residence card or a derivative residence card) issued by the Home Office to a non-EEA national who is either a family member of an EEA or Swiss national or has a derivative right of residence.
- A current immigration status document issued by the Home Office to the holder with a valid endorsement indicating that the named person may stay in the UK for a time-limited period.
- In the case that the person has an ongoing application with the Home Office, or their documents are with the Home Office, or they claim to have a permission right to rent, an email from the Landlords Checking Service providing a “yes” response to a right to rent request. This will only be sent to the landlord by the Landlords Checking Service
How do I carry out the check?
In person, or via video link, verify that your tenant’s documentation matches their identity.
Take a copy of their documentation, and make sure that you date the copy that you make.
Make sure to be very thorough in checking all names, dates and vital details, and if possible it is worth familiarising yourself with things to look out for with regards to way people fraudulently tamper with identification documents. A guide of how to check immigration documents and exactly what to look for is available here.
What's the next step?
Once you have made the Right to Rent check, and are absolutely sure that your tenant is suitable, you must retain the copy that you made of their document and record the date of the check.
If you had to take a check using one of the documents from List B, you will probably have to carry out a follow-up check to clarify the status of your tenant’s right to remain in the UK during the length of the tenancy – don’t forget to note down when this check needs to be carried out. If your tenant's right to rent in the UK has changed, you will have to notify the Home Office straight away, or you will be in breach of the legislation.
Do I need to keep a record?
Yes. You must keep the copies of documentation for the duration of the tenancy, and at least one year afterwards. It is important to be able to prove that you carried out the checks appropriately should you ever need to, so try and keep digital copies if you can.
Can you help?!?
This all sounds very daunting, and many landlords are nervous about getting the Right to Rent checks right and making sure that they don’t accidentally land themselves with a hefty fine.
Whilst you are able to carry out the checks yourself at Urban.co.uk, we are able to offer a helping hand with managing your Right to Rent requirements from start to finish.
Urban.co.uk’s procedure for Right to Rent verification is very thorough, and has been designed to ensure that the system is as simple as possible for both you and your prospective tenant.
Once you have identified a prospective tenant who you would like to have verified, all you have to do is let the team at Urban.co.uk know, and we will let you know exactly what to do! We'll advise you of the documents you need to collect and have sight of the orginals, we'll then verify them by sending a copy to our referencing company, Homelet. A report is then produced which states whether or not the tenant has the right to rent in the UK.
The report is passed back to you, so you have a record of the verification. The verified ID is also digitally held on Homelet’s secure system for the duration of your tenancy, and 12 months afterwards, in accordance with legislation.
If required, Urban.co.uk will carry out further checks on tenants who have a time limited right to rent in the UK, or will notify the Home Office of any individuals who are not eligible to reside in the country.
If you would like further information on how we can help you, don’t hesitate to contact one of the team on 0800 689 9955, or firstname.lastname@example.org
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