Check your tenant's right to rent

2. How to do a check

  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 isn’t allowed to stay in England.

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

When you’re with the tenant, you need to check that:

  • the documents are originals and belong to the tenant
  • their permission to stay in the UK hasn’t 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 aren’t too damaged or don’t 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 doesn’t 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.

Don’t rent a property to someone in England if they don’t have the right documents and the landlord’s checking service tells you they aren’t 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.