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UK Government’s ‘right to rent’ scheme

The UK Government’s ‘right to rent’ scheme came into force on 1 February 2016 across England.

What does ‘right to rent’ mean?

Landlords need to carry out checks on all new adult tenants to make sure they have the right to rent property in the country. The new statutory rules also apply to property that is sub-let or taking in lodgers. The rules do not apply to certain types of accommodation such as social housing and care homes.

What are the risks if a landlord fails to carry out the checks?

Failing to carry out the checks can result in a £3,000 penalty per tenant.

Why has the scheme been introduced?

The new rules are part of the Government’s bigger strategy to tackle and reduce illegal working and illegal immigration. The new rules are very similar to the ‘right to work’ checks all employers must carry out to ensure that an employee has the right to work in the UK.

How do I carry out right to rent checks?

The checks are simple and require the landlord to:

  1. Check which adults will live at your property as their only or main home.
  2. See original documents that demonstrate the tenant has the right to live in the UK
  3. Check that the documents are genuine and belong to the tenant, with the tenant present.
  4. Make and keep copies of the documents and record the date you made the check.

Where can I find more information?

It is important landlords know how to check the documents and are also familiar with their obligations to not discriminate. We can offer training to help all landlords comply with their new statutory duties.


This briefing is for guidance purposes only. RadcliffesLeBrasseur LLP accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any action taken or not taken in relation to this note and recommends that appropriate legal advice be taken having regard to a client's own particular circumstances.

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