As many landlords are now letting property directly, we have been asked many times about certain back ground checks and the right to rent legislation. Below is a short guide to the correct procedure and information required to comply.
How to do a check
Check which adults will use your property as their main home (your ‘tenants’).
Ask them for original documents that prove they can live in the UK.
Check their documents to see if they have the right to rent your property.
Check that each tenant’s documents are genuine and belong to them, with the tenant present.
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 isn’t allowed to stay in England.
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
Check their original documents
When you’re with the tenant, you need to check that:
the documents are originals and belong to the tenant
their permission to stay in the UK hasn’t 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 aren’t too damaged or don’t 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
If the tenant doesn’t 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.