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Right to Rent Update

As of 30 September 2022, the temporary adjustments to Right to Rent checks which were introduced in March 2020 no longer apply.

The adjusted checks were introduced as a response to the COVID 19 pandemic which allowed landlords and agents to check a tenant’s right to rent presenting copies of passports and visas on a video which also verified the facial details of the person which could be matched with their passport. The previous procedure demanded the appearance of each person with their passport and visa in the office of the Agent which during lockdown was not viable.

There are now three ways to check a tenant’s right to rent. These are:

  • A manual right to rent check;
  • A home office online right to rent check;
  • A right to rent check using Identification Verification Technology (IDVT) through an Identity Service Provider (IDSP) being a third party who has been certified and approved by the Home Office.

A manual right to rent check will now revert to requiring landlords and agents to obtain original versions of documents (accepted documents are listed in Annex A of the Landlords’ Guide to Right to Rent Checks on www.gov.uk). The landlord or the agent will then need to verify the tenant’s identity against the documents, they will now have the option to do so either in person, or via video link.

The Home Office online service is used to check the right to rent for migrants to the UK, depending on the immigration documents they have available. Since April everyone who holds a Biometric Residence Permit must use this service, and by 2024 it is expected that the cohort of who can use this service will expand to make the entire immigration service digital.

To check the right to rent through this service, a 9-digit share code (provided to the prospective tenant) will need to be entered into the system together with their date of birth. The procedure is similar to the manual check meaning the tenant’s identity will need to be verified against the system, either in person or using a live video link.

The final option of checking IDVT through an IDSP can only be used for valid British or Irish passport holders. The landlord or the agent will need to choose their own provider and it is recommended that they use a certified IDSP, although this is not a requirement.

For all right to rent checks, it is important that a copy of the documents and evidence of the checks done are retained on the electronic system or if preferred by using a paper system.

Published 16 November 2022

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