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Right to rent checks

In England, private landlords are required to carry out a right to rent check for all adults in a household when a property is being rented or sub-let, or when a person is a paying lodger. In some circumstances, housing associations will be required to undertake right to rent checks. A person will either have an unlimited right to rent, a time-limited right to rent, or no right to rent, depending on their immigration status. Some people with no right to rent may be granted permission to rent by the Home Office. Landlords will usually establish whether a person has a right to rent by checking their documents or digital status, or contacting the Home Office directly to undertake a check. Some types of accommodation are exempt from the right to rent scheme.

The right to rent scheme does not apply in Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland. 

Who has the right to rent? 

Unlimited right to rent 

A person will have an unlimited right to rent if they have one of the following:

  • British or Irish citizenship
  • The right of abode
  • Indefinite leave to remain, settled status granted under the EU Settlement Scheme, or no time limit on their stay in the UK

Time-limited right to rent 

A person will have a time-limited right to rent if they have one of the following:

  • Limited leave to enter or remain
  • Pre-settled status granted under the EU Settlement Scheme
  • Pending immigration application
  • Certificate of Application to show that they have applied to the EU Settlement Scheme (in some cases, other evidence may be accepted)
  • Permission to rent granted by the Home Office

When a person has a time-limited right to rent, the landlord will need to carry out a further check to find out whether the person still has a right to rent in 12 months time or, if they have leave to remain or an immigration document that expires later than 12 months, just before their leave or document expires. 

If a landlord establishes that a person does not have a right to rent when they conduct a follow up check, they will be required to report this to the Home Office. 

No right to rent 

A person will not have a right to rent if they have no immigration permission and do not have an outstanding application with the Home Office, although in certain cases the Home Office may grant permission to rent.The Home Office Landlord guide to right to rent checks states:

'A person without leave who is looking to take up a new tenancy can enquire whether they have permission to rent through their established contact points within the Home Office, such as at a reporting event, interview appointment or through the team dealing with their case.'

Which types of accommodation are exempt from right to rent checks?

The following types of accommodation are exempt from right to rent checks:

  • Hostels and refuges
  • Care homes, hospitals, and hospices
  • Accommodation arranged by a council as a result of a statutory duty being engaged, such as section 17 of the Children Act 1989 or section 18 of the Care Act 2014, or when a power is engaged to accommodate a person who is homeless or threatened with homelessness
  • Accommodation provided by a council under Part VII of the Housing Act 1996 (homelessness provisions)
  • Allocation of social housing under Part VI of the Housing Act 1996
  • Accommodation provided under section 4 or 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 to a person who is seeking asylum or appeal rights exhausted following an asylum claim 

The full list of exempt accommodation is set out at Schedule 3 of the Immigration Act 2014 and is summarised in the landlord guide to right to rent checks. 

For more information about the right to rent scheme, see the Home Office collection of documents about immigration right to rent checks.