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Right to Rent

Who conducts the checks?

Right to Rent requires letting agents and landlords to prove their tenant has right to rent in the United Kingdom. Should a landlord appoint an agent to conduct checks on their behalf and subsequent follow up checks, they should retain a written agreement clearly stating who is responsible. Such an arrangement may transfer the liability for civil penalties to the agent.

When to conduct the check?

The checks are required on all prospective tenants aged 18 or over, including British Citizens. It is a requirement to conduct the checks a maximum of 28 days before the tenancy, although in circumstances where the tenant is yet to arrive in the United Kingdom, you may agree to a tenancy subject to right to rent checks and subject to contract. It is vital that checks are completed on their arrival.

How to complete the check?

Manual Check using the List of Documents at Annex A of the Landlord’s Guide to Right to Rent Checks:

  • You must obtain the original document;
  • The checks must be in the presence of the tenant either in person or virtually;
  • Must retain a copy.

Identity Verification Technology (IDVT):

  • Must use an Identity Service Provider (IDSP) and be satisfied they are certified and meet regulatory requirements;
  • Check the details match;
  • Must retain proof of check.

Home Office Online Checking Service:

  • Tenant provides 9-digit share code which begins with the letter ‘R’ and is valid for 90 days;
  • Access online service and enter the tenant’s date of birth;
  • Check likeness of tenant against image either in person or by video link;
  • The service may further require a follow up check;
  • Retain evidence of check either by screen capture or PDF.

Unlimited Right to Rent

Where checks are conducted and the tenants fall within the categories of those with unlimited right to rent, you must retain all evidence of the check for the duration of the tenancy and for at least one year thereafter. The evidence should include the date of when the check was carried out. Once an unlimited right to rent has been established, no further checks shall be required.

Statutory Excuse

Where tenants have limited right to rent, a statutory excuse is obtained by conducting a right to rent check on all prospective tenants. The statutory excuse determines an eligibility period and will be the longest of the following:

  1. a) one year, beginning on the date which the checks were last carried out;
  2. b) until the person’s leave to be in the UK expires; or,
  3. c) until the validity of the document, which evidences their right to be in the UK, expires.

To maintain the statutory excuse against the civil penalty, landlords must conduct a follow up check before the expiry of the eligibility period. Upon the follow-up check, should there no longer be the right to rent, you must make a report to the Home Office.

Key Development

From 13 February 2024, the civil penalty for non-compliance with right to rent has increased. The first breach applies a penalty of £5,000.00 per lodger and £10,000.00 per occupier. Should there be a repeat breach within 3 years, there is a penalty of £10,000.00 per lodger and £20,000.00 per occupier.


Posted 5 March 2024

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Painsmith Solicitors Limited trading as Painsmith Solicitors, Director: Marveen Smith. Registered No. 07617210.

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