Understand the local tenancy laws and regulations to ensure that you are aware of your legal entitlements and protections as a tenant.
My landlord says I have to show them my passport or birth certificate, should I?
For new tenancies that start on or after 1 February 2016, private landlords, agents or householders who are letting private rented accommodation, or taking in a lodger/subletting must check their tenant's immigration status before they can offer them a tenancy agreement. This is called the ‘Right to Rent’. This means checking that tenants or lodgers have the right to be in the UK. This also applies to council and housing associations.If you already live in a property before this date then your landlord or letting agent will have to check your right to rent before you move into the property.
Landlords have to check the status every year and take a copy of the tenant's documents. If you find your accommodation before you arrive in the UK then your landlord or letting agent will have to check your right to rent before you move into the property.
The right to rent checks should not be carried out more than 28 days before the tenancy is signed.
You have the ‘Right to Rent’ If you are one of the following:
- You are a UK citizen
- You are an EEA/Swiss national
- You have the right to be in the UK under EEA law
- You have valid immigration permission to be in the UK
- You do not have valid immigration permission to be in the UK but you have been granted 'permission to rent' by the UK government
Who is exempt from the checks?
You are exempt if:
- You live in an exempt property. This includes student halls of residence; accommodation owned and managed by a higher or further education institution, or a body established for charitable purposes only; and accommodation that you have been nominated to occupy by such an institution, or charitable body.
- You are under 18 when you enter into the tenancy agreement; you will remain exempt until the landlord's next set of checks are due, even if you turn 18 during this time.You are not using the property as your main or only home in the UK.
- You are not using the property as your main or only home in the UK.
- The landlord is immediate family, such as a parent.
- You are a guest in the property, you do not pay rent to stay there and it is not your only or main home in the UK.
- The property is holiday accommodation and you will be staying there for only a short period of time.
What documents do I need to provide to have the right to rent?
Your landlord or lettings/property agent will need to see original evidence of your right to be in the UK for example. The following will be sufficient:
- British citizens: A passport (current or expired)/A certificate of registration or naturalisation as a British citizen
- EEA/Swiss nationals: Your passport or national identity card
- Family members of EEA/Swiss nationals: EEA family permit or residence card
- People with immigration permission to be in the UK: Current passport containing a valid visa, or a valid Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). If these documents are with the Home Office as part of an ongoing immigration application (or you have a pending appeal or administrative review) then you should give your landlord your Home Office reference number so that they can verify this with the Home Office.
If your landlord does not check your immigration status they could be fined up to £3000.