Right to rent
All private landlords in England are required by law to make ‘right to rent’ checks. This means checking that all tenants have the right to be in the UK.
What this means for students
All students entering a new tenancy agreement or extending their existing tenancy agreement for private accommodation will have their ‘right to rent’ checked by the landlord or letting agent before they can move in to a property.
The Student Accommodation team can answer your questions about renting accommodation in the private sector.
You can use one of the following documents to prove your right to rent:
- a passport
- a travel document issued by the Home Office
- an immigration status document sent to you when you were given permission to stay in the UK
Your passport, travel document or immigration status document needs to have a Home Office endorsement in it - for example, a stamp or a vignette (a sticker).
This must say that you have one of the following:
- indefinite leave to enter or indefinite leave to remain in the UK
- no time limit to your stay in the UK
- a certificate of entitlement to the right of abode
- exemption from immigration control
- limited leave to enter or limited leave to remain in the UK, or permission to stay for a time limited period
- a certificate of entitlement to readmission to the UK
You can no longer use a physical biometric residence permit or card to prove your right to rent - you’ll need to apply for a share code instead.
Arranging accommodation before you arrive in the UK
If you arrange your accommodation before you arrive in the UK then your landlord or letting agent will check your right to rent before you move into the property. A right to rent check cannot be carried out more than 28 days before you enter into a tenancy agreement with your landlord.
I have recently made a visa application in the UK but it is still pending a decision. Does this affect my Right to Rent?
As long as you have submitted a new visa application before your current one expires, your prospective landlord can contact the Home Office online checking system for landlords who will confirm that you are legally entitled to remain in the UK.
Visiting students in the UK for less than 6 months without a visa and entered via e-gates - how to prove right to rent.
As a visiting national who is able to enter via an e-gate you do not need to provide evidence of your immigration status for right to rent – you just need to show evidence of your date of entry to the UK and you have 6 months in the UK from that date.
Please refer your prospective landlord to page 44 of the Landlord’s Guide to Right to Rent checks document (pdf) which confirms the following:
Nationals of an EEA country, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea or the USA who are visitors to the UK
Nationals of an EEA country, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea or the USA, who enter the UK as a visitor, are able to use eGates at UK airports, seaports, and Brussels and Paris Eurostar terminals, should they hold a biometric passport. If they do not have a biometric passport, they will be informed of their immigration permission and its associated conditions verbally by a Border Force officer. They will not have their passports endorsed with a stamp.
Those coming to live in the UK for more than six months will have a visa in their passport and will collect their biometric residence permit post-arrival or will have been issued an eVisa.
Those entering the UK as a visitor or business visitor will be granted automatic Permission to Enter for a maximum period of six months and will not have a document to evidence their lawful status in the UK. These nationals are permitted to use a combination of their passport, plus evidence of entry to the UK to demonstrate their right to rent. Although, by exception, some individuals may receive a stamp in their passport which will evidence their date of entry to the UK. In these circumstances, a landlord can conduct a right to rent check by checking their passport and the endorsement in it.
Acceptable evidence of travel to the UK may include (but is not restricted to) one of the following, or a combination of:
- an original or copy of a boarding pass or electronic boarding pass for air, rail or sea travel to the UK, establishing the date of arrival in the UK in the preceding six month
- an original or copy airline, rail or boat ticket or e-ticket establishing the date of arrival in the UK in the preceding six months
- any type of booking confirmation (original or copy) for air, rail or sea travel to the UK establishing the date of arrival in the UK in the preceding six months
- any other documentary evidence which establishes the date of arrival in the UK in the preceding six months
Does my Landlord need to see a visa that covers the full duration of time that I want to rent the property?
A landlord is not required to see immigration permission for the full duration of the period they wish to let the property for and this actually may be seen as discriminatory practice. The Landlords Guide to Right to Rent Checks confirms the following:
‘You will not be liable for a civil penalty if you let accommodation for occupation by someone with a time-limited right to rent. You must conduct checks on those with a time-limited right to rent no sooner than 28 days before the start of a tenancy. You should retain evidence of the check along with the date of when the check was conducted for the duration of the tenancy and for at least one year thereafter.
The eligibility period
If presented with a document from List B of the list of acceptable documents, you will establish a statutory excuse for a limited time period, ‘the eligibility period’. The eligibility period will be the longest of the following:
- one year, beginning with the date on which the checks were last made.
- until the period of the person’s immigration permission in the UK expires.
- until the expiry of the validity of the Home Office issued immigration document which evidences their right to be in the UK.
A further check can take place at any time, such as when a tenant tells you that they have extended their immigration permission. To maintain a statutory excuse against a penalty, you will need to conduct a follow-up check before the end of the eligibility period.’
See pages 17 & 18 of the Landlords Guide to Right to Rent Checks (pdf)
Basically, your landlord can let to you for up to 12 months as long as they have conducted a right to rent check to confirm you have valid immigration permission to be in the UK at the start of your tenancy.