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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/undocumented-commonwealth-citizens-resident-in-the-uk/guidance-for-landlords-conducting-right-to-rent-checks-on-undocumented-commonwealth-citizens
This information is for landlords wishing to rent private residential property in England to long resident Commonwealth citizens (known as ‘Windrush’ cases) and other long resident non-EEA nationals who have a legal right to live in the UK but do not have documents to prove it.
1. Status and right to rent
If a prospective tenant has lived in the UK permanently since before 1973 and has not been away for long periods within the last 30 years, they have the legal right to live here and to rent property.
If a prospective tenant came to the UK after 1 January 1973 but before 1988, that individual might not have an automatic right to live in the UK, but if they apply to the Home Office now they may be allowed to stay here permanently and have the right to rent.
2. What you should do
If a prospective tenant is unable to present specified documentation in line with the prescribed right to rent checks, but provides information to you indicating that they commenced their residence in the UK before 1988, you should not refuse permission to rent, but instead contact the Landlord Checking Service using the online form.
If the prospective tenant has a right to rent, the Landlord Checking Service will issue you with a Positive Right to Rent Notice (PRRN). A PRRN issued by the Landlord Checking Service will provide you with a statutory excuse against liability for a civil penalty.
In processing such cases, the Landlord Checking Service will work with the Home Office Windrush taskforce to ensure the individual receives the documentation they require to evidence both their lawful status and their right to rent.
3. Windrush Scheme Announcement (May 2018)
On 24 May, the Home Secretary announced a dedicated Windrush Scheme to make it easier for individuals to access support and understand what is on offer.
The Windrush Scheme brings into force legislation to enable the government to:
process citizenship applications for the Windrush generation – Commonwealth nationals who settled in the UK before 1973 – free of charge
process citizenship applications for children of the Windrush generation who joined their parents before they turned 18 – free of charge
give free confirmation of the existing British citizenship for children born to the Windrush generation in the UK where needed
This legislation allows the government to waive the requirement to carry out a Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK test for those applying for citizenship, though people applying for citizenship will still need to meet the good character requirements.
The Windrush Scheme also covers the government’s commitment to help members of the Windrush generation who are looking to return to the UK having spent recent years back in their home countries. These people will be able to apply for the relevant documentation free of charge.
Finally, non-Commonwealth citizens who settled in the UK before 1973 and people who arrived between 1973 to 1988, who have an existing right to be in the UK, will be given documentation to prove their indefinite leave to remain free of charge.
We have established a new customer contact centre or Windrush Taskforce, so anyone who is struggling to navigate the many different immigration routes can speak to a person and get appropriate advice.
We are also in the process of setting up a compensation scheme for people who have suffered loss. This will be run by an independent person and details of the consultation will be announced shortly.