How to do a check

You can either:

  • check your tenant’s original documents
  • view your tenant’s right to rent online if they have a ‘share code’

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.

How to check original 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. From 6 April 2022 you will not be able to accept biometric residence cards or permits. Ask the tenant for a share code instead.

  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.

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

From 6 April 2022 you will not be able to accept biometric residence cards or permits. Ask the tenant for a share code instead.

How to check with a share code

You can view a tenant’s right to rent in England with a share code if your tenant:

  • has a biometric residence card or permit
  • has settled or pre-settled status
  • applied for a visa and used the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to scan their identity document on their phone

Ask your tenant to give you their share code.

If your tenant can prove their right to rent using an accepted, original document, you cannot insist they use the online service instead.

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

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 790 6268
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.