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Guidance for landlords: right to rent checks

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Right to rent checks are a vital step in the verification process, necessary before landlords can let their property to new tenants.

Landlords in England are legally required to check the identity of all adults over the age of 18, make copies of the accepted original document and record the checks. They must also conduct follow up checks when necessary.

A number of changes were introduced on 6 April 2022 to right to rent check requirements. These include:  

  • Landlords are no longer able to carry out manual checks for potential tenants who have a Biometric Residence card or permit (this is verification that an individual has the right to stay, work or study in the UK). All biometric residence card holders and permit holders will have to show their identity using the Home Office online service only
  • Landlords can use a new service called ‘Identity Service Provider’ (IDSP) which allows them to carry out identity verification checks involving British and Irish citizens who hold a valid passport (including an Irish passport). Landlords can still accept specified hard copy documents and should not discriminate against those who prefer to provide hard copy documents
  • The new rules will also bring changes to the lists of acceptable documents, which can be found via the Government’s website

During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, temporary measures were introduced to protect individuals but still ensure businesses could run to the best of their ability under the challenging circumstances.

Measures were implemented for landlords to continue right to rent checks from 30 March 2020 and the Government recently announced that these will stay in place until 30 September 2022.

These include:

  • Checks can be carried out over video calls
  • Tenants can send scanned documents or photos of the accepted documents via email or mobile app – rather than posting originals
  • Landlords are advised to use the Home Office Landlords checking service if a potential or existing tenant cannot provide any of the accepted documents

Although most Covid-19 measures have been relaxed, the Government made the decision to keep these in place for longer to give individuals time to familiarise themselves with the new online systems.

This only applies in England. Landlords do not need to check a tenant’s right to rent property in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.

For more information on the right to rent checks and requirements, please visit gov.co.uk

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