Who is Responsible for Right to Rent Checks?

Landlords (or their agents) in England are responsible for ensuring that potential tenants are legally entitled to rent in the UK. The right to rent is just one of the many checks that must be made, and failure to do so can result in serious consequences. Landlords can be fined up to £3,000 for renting to someone without the right to rent or for not completing the necessary checks. It is essential that all adults over 18 who will be living on the property (regardless of whether they are listed on the lease agreement) have their right to rent verified before the start date of the lease. List A, Group 1, includes documents such as passports (current or expired), green cards, biometric immigration cards, or immigration status documents that demonstrate an unlimited right to rent.

The Home Office will send a notification requesting proof that the necessary checks have been made; landlords who can demonstrate that they have correctly carried out the right to rent checks will be able to file a defense. If using the online verification service, there is no need to consult physical documents as information about a person's right to rent is provided in real time directly from the Home Office's systems. This is an important pre-tenancy control which prevents those without legal immigration status from renting property in the private rented sector. Landlords who can show that they have conducted the correct right to rent checks will be able to file a defense. If it is discovered that a tenant does not have the right to rent in the UK, it is essential that the tenancy does not proceed.

During the pandemic, many landlords have been verifying right-to-rent documents using digital technologies such as Facetime, Zoom or Microsoft Teams. It is also worth noting that right-to-rent checks are not a legal requirement for tenants of certain types of housing. If a person needs a permit to stay in England and does not have one, nor does they have a pending application with the Home Office, they therefore have no right to rent. Landlords are responsible for verifying the immigration status of potential renters from the private rental sector.