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Right To Rent and Brexit

RIGHT TO RENT AND BREXIT - How will this work?

Every tenant must have the right to live in the UK, nothing has changed on this. Except for the fact that having an EU, EEA or Swiss nationality is now no longer proof that you have the right to live in the UK.

To clarify the right to rent here it’s not just for named tenants but can be anyone over the age of 18 that resides at a property. So if you become aware that a tenant has moved a member of their family in or a friend, even on a short term basis, they would need to prove the right to rent in the UK.

New rules are due to be introduced by July 2021 however if it follows the governments other introductions of such schemes the information surrounding the new process is unlikely to be confirmed and published until the eleventh hour. We all know that there have been instances over legislation changes that have called for last minute procedure changes to ensure compliance.

The current guidance offered from the government website is as follows;

Who you have to check

You must check that a tenant or lodger can legally rent your residential property in England.

Check with the Home Office if the tenant is a Commonwealth Citizen but does not have the right documents - they might still have the right to rent in the UK.

Before the start of a new tenancy, you must check all tenants aged 18 and over, even if:

  • they’re not named on the tenancy agreement
  • there’s no tenancy agreement
  • the tenancy agreement is not in writing

Check all new tenants. It’s against the law to only check people you think are not British citizens. You must not discriminate against anyone because of where they’re from.

If the tenant is only allowed to stay in the UK for a limited time, you need to do the check in the 28 days before the start of the tenancy.

How to do a check

Because of coronavirus (COVID-19) there are temporary changes to the way you can check documents. Read guidance about the adjusted process, including asking for documents digitally, making checks on a video call, and what to do if someone cannot provide any accepted documents.

  1. Check which adults will use your property as their main home (your ‘tenants’).
  2. Ask them for original documents that prove they can live in the UK.
  3. Check their documents to see if they have the right to rent your property.
  4. Check that each tenant’s documents are genuine and belong to them, with the tenant present.
  5. Make and keep copies of the documents and record the date you made the check.

You can get an unlimited fine or be sent to prison for renting your property to someone who is not allowed to stay in England.

Checking EU, EEA and Swiss citizens

Right to rent checks continue in the same way as now until 30 June 2021 for citizens of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

Continue checking their passport or national identity card as before. For family members of EU, EEA or Swiss citizens, follow the usual guidance for documents you can accept for right to rent checks.

It’s against the law to ask EU, EEA or Swiss citizens to show that they have settled status or pre-settled status when starting a new tenancy.

You will not need to make retrospective checks for existing tenants from 2021.


Check if the property is used as the tenant’s main home

A property would usually be a tenant’s only or main home if:

  • they live there most of the time
  • they keep most of their belongings there
  • their partner or children live with them
  • they’re registered to vote at the property
  • they’re registered with the doctor using that address

Check their original documents

You need to check that:

  • the documents are originals and belong to the tenant
  • their permission to stay in the UK has not ended
  • the photos on the documents are of the tenant
  • the dates of birth are the same in all documents (and are believable)
  • the documents are not too damaged or do not look like they’ve been changed
  • if any names are different on documents, there are supporting documents to show why, such as a marriage certificate or divorce decree

If the tenant does not have the right documents

You must use the landlord’s checking service to check whether the tenant’s allowed to rent without the right documents if:

  • the Home Office has their documents
  • they have an outstanding case or appeal with the Home Office
  • the Home Office told them they have ‘permission to rent’

You’ll get an answer within 2 working days.

You’ll need the tenant’s Home Office reference number to use the service.

Do not rent a property to someone in England if they do not have the right documents and the landlord’s checking service tells you they are not allowed to rent.