How to Perform a Right to Rent Check

The Home Office has implemented right-to-rent checks in England in order to make it more difficult for people to live and work illegally. These checks are not applicable in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Certified Identity Service Providers (IDSPs) are external providers that meet the government's standards for digitally verifying the right to rent of British and Irish citizens who possess a valid passport (including Irish passport cards). IDSPs provide convenient checks, but not all agents will be able to offer Right to Rent checks through an IDSP.

A list of IDPs can be found on GOV, United Kingdom. If the tenant is not a British or Irish citizen, they can usually prove their right to rent with their original immigration documents. It is recommended that all people who occupy the property and are not tenants (authorized occupants) be included in the rental agreement and that their right to rent is verified. The Home Office has a real-time system that can be used to generate a decision on the right to rent without any additional documentation.

Landlords and rental agencies have a legal obligation to re-verify the right to rent if the identity document provided is from “list B”, as these documents only provide a legal excuse for a limited time. For example, if the tenant has a visa that expires in 3 months, a follow-up check must be done before the expiry date or within 28 days from the date they renewed their visa or changed their status. This means that they must have a valid immigration status that allows them to live and rent property in the country. Entitlement checks can be difficult when tenants come from abroad, so in this context, you may want to consider entering into a “conditional lease agreement”. If a person needs a permit to stay in England and doesn't have one, nor does they have a pending application with the Home Office, they have no right to rent.

You can check the physical documents of a British or Irish citizen yourself or use an online identity service provider (IDSP) to verify them. It is important for landlords and agents to comply with the rules on the right to rent and always keep documents. The right to rent is just one of many rules that must be followed. If it is discovered that a landlord rents to someone without the right to rent, there can be serious consequences. If your tenant can prove their right to rent using an accepted original document, you cannot insist that they use the online service instead.

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