How To Prove You Have The Right To Rent

Navigating the rental market in the UK can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to understanding and proving your right to rent. This article aims to clarify the process for prospective tenants, ensuring you have all the necessary information to secure a rental home.

Understanding Right to Rent

Introduced in February 2016, the Right to Rent scheme requires all prospective tenants in England to prove they are legally allowed to rent a property. This measure is part of the government’s efforts to ensure that only those with lawful status in the UK can access private rental accommodation.

Proving Your Right to Rent

British or Irish Citizens

If you’re a British or Irish citizen, proving your right to rent is straightforward. You can use a valid British or Irish passport, a passport card, or a certificate of registration or naturalisation as a British citizen. In some cases, other documents might be acceptable if standard documents are not available. It’s worth noting that some landlords may accept verification through an online identity service provider (IDSP) instead of physical documents.

Non-British or Irish Citizens

For those who are not British or Irish citizens, the process involves providing either a share code obtained online or original immigration documents. The choice of which to provide lies with the tenant, and landlords cannot refuse a tenancy based on the type of document provided, as long as it is an acceptable form of proof.

To obtain a Right to Rent share code, you’ll need to follow a simple online process. The share code is a 9-digit number that enables your landlord to verify your right to rent status online, making the process smoother and faster for both parties.

Here’s how to get your share code:

  1. Access the Government’s Online Checker: Start by going to the UK government’s online service designed for this purpose. You’ll be required to enter some personal details to proceed.
  2. Enter Your Document Details: You will need to provide information from one of the following: your passport, national identity card number, or biometric residence card number. This step is crucial as it verifies your identity and immigration status.
  3. Provide Your Date of Birth: Alongside your document details, you’ll also need to input your date of birth to further confirm your identity.
  4. Receive Your Share Code: Once your details are submitted and verified, you’ll be issued a share code. This code is valid for 90 days, during which you should provide it to your landlord for them to conduct the Right to Rent check.

It’s important to remember that landlords are legally required to conduct Right to Rent checks in England to avoid potential fines. The online check with a share code is immediate, offering a quick way to confirm your eligibility to rent​​​​​​.

What If You Cannot Prove Your Right to Rent?

In situations where a prospective tenant cannot provide the standard documents to prove their right to rent, landlords can request a Home Office right to rent check. This is especially relevant for Commonwealth citizens who might be eligible under schemes like the Windrush Scheme to obtain documents proving their right to rent in the UK.

Landlord Responsibilities

Landlords, or their agents, must verify the documents or perform an online right to rent check for all adult tenants. This includes making and retaining copies of the documents for the duration of the tenancy. It is crucial for landlords to conduct these checks in a manner that does not discriminate against potential tenants based on their nationality or any other protected characteristic.

Exemptions and Special Circumstances

Certain types of accommodation and tenant circumstances are exempt from the right to rent checks, including student accommodation, social housing, and those provided by an employer as part of an employment. Additionally, individuals with a biometric residence card or permit must apply online for a share code, as physical cards or permits cannot be used to prove the right to rent.

Navigating the right to rent requirements can be complex, but understanding the basics is crucial for both tenants and landlords. By ensuring you have the correct documentation or share code, you can streamline the rental process and secure your new home with confidence.