What are acceptable documents for ‘Right to Rent’ checks?
As a landlord in England, you may be exposed to a civil penalty if your tenants are discovered not to have the right to rent. As of 1st February 2015, landlords must determine a new tenant’s immigration status before the start of a tenancy.
In the majority of cases, checking a tenant’s passport may be sufficient; any British Citizen or holder of an EEA passport has the right to rent in the UK. But where this isn’t the case, here is a comprehensive list of all acceptable documents.
Acceptable Documents providing evidence of a right to rent indefinitely
If the tenant provides any one of these documents, they will not require repeat checks:
- 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 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 country, a European Economic Area country, or Switzerland.
- A permanent residence card, indefinite leave to remain card, indefinite leave to enter card 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 (not expired) at the time the right to rent check is made.
- A passport or other travel document (current or expired) endorsed to show that the holder is: exempt from immigration control, allowed to stay indefinitely in the UK, has the right of abode in the UK, or has no time limit on their stay 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 (not expired) at the time the right to rent check is made
- A certificate of registration or naturalisation as a British Citizen.
If the tenant provides a combination of any two of these documents, they will not require repeat checks:
- 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, and that they have been released from custody of that service in the past 6 months; or a letter from an officer of the National Offender Management Service in England and Wales, or from an officer of a local authority in Scotland, or from an officer of the Probation Board for Northern Ireland, confirming that the holder is the subject of an order requiring supervision by that officer.
- A letter from a UK further or higher education institution confirming the holder’s acceptance on a current course of studies.
- A current full or provisional UK driving license (both the photocard and paper counterpart must be shown).
- 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 3 months prior to commencement of tenancy.
Acceptable Documents that establish a time-limited right to rent
If the tenant provides the following documents, you may have to repeat the check at a later date to determine if they still have the right to rent (see more below).
- A valid passport or other travel document endorsed to show that the holder is allowed to stay in the UK for a time-limited period.
- 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.
- 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.
Once you have been presented with one of these documents proving a limited right to rent, you will establish an excuse against a penalty for a limited time. This excuse will be valid for one of the following time periods (whichever is longest):
- One year, from the date on which checks were last made.
- Until expiry of the person’s permission to be in the UK.
- Until the validity of the documents which evidence a person’s right to be in the UK expire.
To protect yourself from penalty, you should schedule a follow-up check within 28 days of the eligibility period’s expiry
For more information on how to conduct your Right to Rent immigration checks, click here.