What are Right to Rent checks?
A right to rent check means checking an identity document from all tenants or prospective tenants who are over 18 to ensure that they have the legal right to live in the UK. These checks should be carried out for all tenancies beginning on or after 1st February 2016, regardless of nationality. If someone has time-limited permission to work in the UK, you also need to then conduct a follow-up check on them.
If a written agreement is put in place, a letting or managing agent can conduct the right to rent checks on behalf of the landlord.
Once you have established that the adult will be using a property as their main or only home, there are three main steps to check someone's Right to Work in the UK:
Step 1: Obtain
Ask every tenant for an original document which proves their right to live in the UK.
There are 2 categories of legal tenants - unlimited right to rent and time-limited right to rent. The documents for demonstrating each of these are set out in two lists – List A (Group 1 and Group 2) and List B.
You can find a complete guide to acceptable documents here.
Step 2: Check
Landlords must check the original documents in the presence of the holder. This can be in person or via a live video link.
Step 3: Copy
Take a clear copy of the identity documents that you've checked and record the date of the check. Keep those copies securely for at least a year after the tenancy agreement has ended.
If you're an agent making a high number of tenant checks, electronic document verification systems can make the Right to Rent checking process quicker and more reliable, removing much of the administration and ensuring that all your staff have a robust and consistent process to follow.