From December 2016, landlords and agents in England can be charged with a criminal offence if they know or have reasonable belief to suspect that they are letting to an illegal migrant. A landlord can delegate this responsibility to an agent but the checks must be carried out.

How Right To Rent Affects You And What You Need To Do

You need to obtain appropriate documents from the prospective tenant confirming the right of the tenant to reside in the UK. Acceptable documents are listed in three sections.

List A (Group1) which shows an unlimited right to rent of which you need one document

UK Passport

EEA/ Swiss National Passport/Identity Card

Registration Document showing permanent right to reside of EEA/Swiss National Passport

EEA/Swiss National family member showing permanent right to reside

Biometric Residence permanent leave to remain

Travel Document marked with unlimited leave to remain

UK Immigration Document confirming unlimited leave to remain

A certificate of naturalisation or registration as a British Citizen

List A (Group 2) document combinations which show an unlimited right to rent. You will need any two of these documents.

UK Birth or adoption certificate

UK full or provisional driving licence

A letter from HM Prison Service

A letter from a Government Department or Local Authority.

A letter from National Offender Management Service

Evidence of current or previous service in the UK Armed forces

Evidence from the police that certain documents have been stolen

A letter from a Private sector access scheme

A letter of attestation from an employer

A letter from a uk further or higher education establishment

A letter from a UK passport holder working in an acceptable profession

A letter from the Benefits agency

Criminal record check

List B documents which show a time limited right to rent

A valid passport endorsed with a time limit period to reside

Biometric immigration document endorsed with a time limited period to reside

Non EEA national residence card

UK Immigration document endorsed with a time limited period to reside issued by the Home office.


Procedure On Checks

All checks should be made in the presence of the tenant.

When considering the documents in all groups, you should check the document, ensure that it shows no signs of tampering and ensure that the photograph  and the age details are consistent with your tenant. If the name has changed then obtain evidence of the change of name document. The Guidance says to keep only the relevant pages of the document. Please also keep a note of the date you examined the documents.

If you are considering one of the letters in  List A (Group 2), then remember that the letter must be dated within the appropriate parameters. This varies from between 3 and 6 months of the day you are looking at it. Keep a copy of the letter as well

When you are considering the time limited right to reside, then you need to be more cautious. Check and copy the documents as outlined above, but also you need to do a further check either at the time the leave permission expires, or  twelve months from the check, whichever is longer.

Remember you should check all permanent occupiers over 18. Temporary guests are excluded.

If you follow the guidance, obtain the evidence and retain it for future queries then you should be able to show that you have complied with the Act, and thus escape prosecution. Documents should be retained for 12 months after the tenancy ends.

If on the other hand, you fail to do these checks, then you could be prosecuted and could face a maximum of five years imprisonment and an unlimited fine. Please see our separate fact sheet on this.