Document checks

You must prove that you have a right to rent property in England if you’re:

  • starting a tenancy on or after 1 February 2016.
  • renting it as your main home.


You will not have to prove your right to rent if you live in:

  • student accommodation, for example halls of residence
  • accommodation provided by your employer as part of your job or training
  • social housing
  • accommodation provided by the council
  • hostels and refuges
  • a care home, hospital or hospice
  • accommodation with a lease of 7 or more years

Check the full list of exemptions from the right to rent property checks.

What your landlord must do

Your landlord (or letting agent) must:

  • check your documents to make sure you have the right to rent a property in England
  • check the documents of any other adults living in the property
  • make copies of your documents and keep them until you leave the property
  • return your original documents to you once they’ve finished the check

Because of coronavirus (COVID-19) there are temporary changes to the way your landlord can check documents. They might ask you to share your documents digitally and do the checks on a video call.

Read the list of acceptable documents.

Your landlord must not discriminate against you, for example because of your nationality.

If you cannot prove your right to rent

You will not be able to rent property if you cannot provide the acceptable documents.

If the Home Office has your documents

If the Home Office has your documents because of an outstanding case or appeal, ask your landlord to check with the Home Office.

Give your landlord your Home Office reference number to do the check.

If your circumstances mean you can still rent in the UK

In some circumstances, you can still rent even if you are not allowed to stay in the UK, for example if you’re:

Check with the Home Office team that’s dealing with your case.

Your landlord will have to check with the Home Office.

Repeat checks

You will not have a further check if you stay in the same property and one of the following applies:

  • you’re British
  • you’re an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen
  • you have no time limit on your right to stay in the UK

Your landlord will have to make a repeat check if there’s a time limit on your right to stay in the UK.

Your landlord will ask to see your documents again just before your permission to stay runs out, or after 12 months, whichever is longer.