Landlords or their agents are required to carry out “right to rent” checks
on prospective new tenants. A person has the right to rent if they are a
British citizen, an EEA or Swiss national or if the person has leave to
remain in the UK. The checks are similar to the “right to work” checks that
employers are required to undertake.
In normal times, landlords (or agents) must see the tenant’s original
documents, for example, a passport, driving licence or birth certificate,
and take a copy for their records. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the
government has temporarily adjusted the rules to make it easier for
landlords and agents to carry out checks.
Landlords and agents may now conduct right to rent checks in the following
· The tenant submits a scanned copy or a photo of their original documents
via email or using a mobile app.
· The landlord or agent arranges a video call with the tenant. The tenant
holds up the original documents to the camera and the landlord or agent
checks them against the digital copy of the documents.
· The landlord or agent records the date they made the check and marks the
copy document “an adjusted check has been undertaken on [insert date] due
· Once the temporary measures have ended (on a date to be notified by the
government) the landlord or agent must then within 8 weeks carry out a
retrospective check on the tenant, this time with original documents. The
retrospective check should be marked “the individual’s tenancy agreement
commenced on [insert date]. The prescribed right to rent check was
undertaken on [insert date] due to COVID-19”.
Further information about these temporary measures can be found here. The Right to Rent Checklists for Landlords and Agents have been reviewed
and updated to take account of the temporary changes to the checking
The contents of this Newsletter are for reference purposes only and do not constitute
legal advice. Independent legal advice should be sought in relation to any specific