Right to Rent in the UK: A Guide for Expats

The Right to Rent checks were implemented in England as part of broader efforts to ensure lawful immigration status for those renting property. As an expat choosing to make your home here, you will be required to provide documentation confirming your eligibility to reside in the UK. These straightforward checks help landlords and agents avoid unintentionally renting to someone without proper status, which can protect them from penalties.

While providing proof of your citizenship or visa may feel burdensome, it is a standard procedure for anyone renting in the UK, even British citizens. You can reduce the amount of work involved in meeting Right to Rent requirements by organising ahead of time and keeping open lines of communication with your landlord or agent.

Do note that if the required evidence is not provided, the landlord or letting agent will not allow you access to the rental property.

Also note that these stipulations are currently only applicable in England – renters in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland do not have to confirm their status.

For British or Irish Citizens

If you are a British or Irish citizen, you can prove your right to rent by showing your landlord a valid or expired British or Irish passport, a certificate of registration, or naturalisation as a British citizen. Alternatively, you may use an online identity service provider (IDSP) if your landlord offers this option.

For Non-British or Irish Citizens

If you’re not a British or Irish citizen, you can prove your right to rent with a share code, which you can apply for online, or your original immigration documents. Your landlord can use the share code to check your eligibility to rent. If you cannot use a share code or immigration documents, other documents may be acceptable.

You can get your share code online if you have:

  • A biometric residence card or permit
  • A UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account

You’ll have a UKVI account if you’ve ever:

  • Applied to the EU Settlement Scheme
  • Used the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to prove your identity when applying for a visa
  • Created one when applying for a visa (you’ll have received a UKVI account confirmation email)

To use the online service, you’ll need your date of birth and one of the following:

  • Your biometric residence permit
  • Your biometric residence card
  • Your passport or national identity card

Immigration Documents

For individuals who are not British or Irish citizens, here’s a list of acceptable documents to support your right-to-rent eligibility:

  • A valid passport
  • A travel document issued by the Home Office
  • An immigration status document received upon being granted permission to stay in the UK
  • Please ensure that your chosen document has an official Home Office endorsement, such as a stamp or vignette (a sticker).

The endorsement must indicate one of the following:

  • Indefinite leave to enter or remain in the UK
  • No time limit on your stay in the UK
  • A certificate of entitlement to the right of abode
  • Exemption from immigration control
  • Limited leave to enter or remain in the UK, or permission to stay for a specific period – this must cover the duration of your rental agreement
  • A certificate of entitlement to readmission to the UK

Note that physical biometric residence permits or cards are no longer accepted as proof of your right-to-rent. Instead, you must apply for a share code.

Landlord Checking Service

If you’re unable to provide the necessary documents or a share code, your landlord can use your Home Office reference number to request a Home Office right to rent check using the Landlord Checking Service. This service will confirm whether you have the right to rent in England and will provide an answer within two working days.

Steps to Prove Your Right to Rent

  1. Gather Documents: Collect the necessary documents that prove your right to rent, such as a passport or immigration status document with the appropriate Home Office endorsement.
  2. Get Your Share Code: If applicable, apply for a share code online using your biometric residence card or permit, or your UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account.
  3. Provide Documents to Agent/Landlord: Present your documents or share code to your agent or landlord for verification.
  4. Landlord’s Verification: The landlord will check your documents or use the share code to confirm your right to rent online.
  5. Use Landlord Checking Service if Needed: If you cannot provide the required documents or share code, your agent or landlord should use the Landlord Checking Service to verify your right to rent.

Final Thoughts

Renting property in the UK as an expatriate requires compliance with the right to rent regulations. By following the guidance above, you can ensure a smooth process for proving your eligibility to rent in England. Always keep updated with the latest government guidelines and consult with a trusted relocation agent like Klippa if you have any questions regarding the right to rent checks.

Speak to one of our experts or send a message today and find out how we can add value to your relocation programme.

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