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.

Get help with a check

Call the landlord’s helpline to get help with a check.

Landlord’s helpline
0300 069 9799
Monday to Thursday, 9am to 4:45pm
Friday, 9am to 4:30pm
Find out about call charges

You must follow the landlord’s code of practice on illegal immigrants and private rented accommodation.