Check Your Tenant’s Right to Rent

Landlords are legally obliged to check their tenants right to rent. Letting agents can do that for landlords if there is an appropriate agreement in place. Moreover, landlords must check all new tenants, including British citizens. It is against the law to only check potential tenants who are not British as this is classed as discrimination. It is also against the law to refuse to rent a property to a tenant just because they do not have a British passport.

Who to Check?

All tenants who are 18 years of age or over must be checked. The rule applies even if the tenants are not named on the tenancy agreement, there is no tenancy agreement, or the agreement is not in writing.

How to Carry out a Check?

Due to COVID-19 temporary changes have been put in place to the way landlords should check tenants’ documents. This can now be done digitally and on a video call. Please check the guidance here.

  1.  Obtain either;

– a tenant’s original acceptable documents that allow them to live in the UK or,

– a ‘sharecode’ for the online service from the tenant

  1. Check either;

– the document with the tenant present or,

– Go to ‘Check a tenant’s right to rent’ and enter the ‘sharecode’ along with the person’s date of birth

  1. Record and retain evidence of the check.

Here’s s full guide on checking documents.

Please note you can be fined or even sent to prison if you rent a property to someone who is not allowed to stay in England.


Make Copies of Documents

It is important you make copies of all documents and date them. Keep copies for a year after your tenants have moved out. Additionally, be mindful of data protection law. If you need help on data protection, please contact Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

Tenants with Limited Time to Stay

If you tenants have a time limit on their permission to stay, you must do a follow-up check. This is carried out at the end of your tenant’s permission to stay in the UK or 12 months after your previous check. If your tenant fails a follow-up check you must inform the Home Office immediately.


If your tenant sublets your property without your knowledge and permission, they are responsible for following the procedure of checking sub-tenants.



Novum Property Solutions specialise in the tenant find service. If you are a landlord and you are struggling to find the right tenant, please contact us. We have a team of specialists who will be able to help you find tenants suitable for your property.

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