Can Landlords Conduct Right to Rent Checks on Potential Tenants Who Are Not Currently in the UK?

It is illegal to discriminate against anyone based on their place of origin. If your prospective tenant has a digital Certificate of Application (CoA), you can use the GOV (UK) online service called “Check a Tenant's Right to Rent in England” to check their right to rent. If you only have a non-digital CoA, you must check it through the Landlord Verification Service to get a Positive Notification about the Right to Rent (PRRN). You must make a copy of the CoA and the PRRN to have a legal excuse against liability for a civil sanction.

The law requires landlords to carry out a follow-up check if the tenant was entitled to stay in the UK for a limited time when the initial verification took place. The Landlord Verification Service will respond to the landlord via email within two business days, with a clear “yes” or “no” answer. An affirmative answer means that the tenant has the right to rent in the UK. The details of their immigration status or applications they have submitted will not be released.

The Right to Rent system requires landlords to prove that prospective tenants of privately rented housing have a legal right to be in the United Kingdom. Verifying the immigration status of potential tenants is a legal requirement for all landlords. Before renting a home in England, tenancy agents must verify the identity of all adults who intend to occupy their property.

Verification of the Right to Rent

is necessary to verify both the identity and immigration status of tenants.

People using the service will generate a nine-character shared code that they can transmit to the landlord and that, when entered together with their date of birth, will allow them to access information about their right to rent. Applicants disqualified from renting in the UK cannot occupy rental property. If you sublet your property, it is your responsibility to carry out a verification of the right to rent and keep evidence of this before the occupant moves in. To maintain a legal excuse, you must perform a follow-up check before the rental right expires.

If someone plans on entering into a lease agreement before collecting their Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), they can accept the short vignette in their passport as proof of their right to rent. When someone lives in housing as their sole or main home and pays rent to another occupant, they can be considered to have concluded their own residential lease agreement with that occupant (as a subtenant or licensee) and it will be that occupant who is responsible for carrying out checks on the right to rent. If you don't report your tenant, if you discover that you can no longer legally rent a property in England after carrying out a follow-up check, it could result in a fine or prison sentence of up to five years. Once the tenant has provided their documents, they should check them to see if they are entitled to rent.

Prospective tenants whose immigration status disqualifies them from renting may be under the impression that they have permission to rent. The Home Office introduced Right To Rent checks with the aim of making it harder for people to live and work illegally in England. If your passport or biometric immigration document has been stolen, you can use a letter from the UK police confirming that you have been the victim of a crime and that you have reported the theft of your passport, stating the criminal reference number which has been issued in the last three months, as proof of your right to rent. Landlords don't need to prove the right to rent for children as long as they are convinced that they are under 18 when tenancy begins.

Newcomers must prove their right to rent using documents used when entering country.

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