Right to Rent

Posted by Simon Banks, July 2, 2021

Right to Rent

The introduction of Right to Rent was controversial when announced in 2016. At the time, many landlords argued that checking people’s immigration status shouldn’t fall on their laps and instead should  be the job of the government. 

Yet, here we are five years later, and Right to Rent is an integral aspect of renting a home. It’s also a legal requirement to check your prospective tenant’s rights to live and work in the UK before they move in. 

But what does that mean for EU citizens now the UK has parted ways with the European Union? In this article we’re looking at Right to Rent and what implications it has for renters who are moving from abroad, especially in the EU. 

What is Right to Rent?

Initially, landlords didn’t have to perform any mandatory checks on incoming tenants. However, things change and since 2016, landlords are legally required to check the residential status of their incoming tenants. 

This is known as Right to Rent, and all renters need to provide a copy of their passport and immigration documents if necessary. If a tenant moves from, let’s say, Chile to the UK, they will have to provide their immigration status showing they can legally live and work in the country. 

As per the government’s official handbook, “All landlords in England have a responsibility to prevent disqualified persons from accessing the private rented sector. You do this by conducting Right to Rent checks on all prospective adult tenants before the start date of a tenancy agreement, to make sure the person is not disqualified from renting a property by reason of their immigration status.”

How does it affect EU citizens?

While EU citizens have been required to prove their status and ‘right to rent’, they weren’t asked to go through a more robust process of showing immigration documents to such a detailed level as those who came from outside of Europe. 

That meant they only needed to show a passport or ID documents to prove their rights to work and live in the UK. After Brexit, thousands of EU citizens were left with uncertainty about their status. 

For landlords, confusion set in as they began to wonder how they would check the rights of people moving from countries in the European Union. And while not every aspect has been sorted, the way in which Right to Rent works remains unchanged – for now. 

Will the Right to Rent change for EU citizens?

Up until June 30th 2021, all EU citizens in the UK were required to continue providing the same identification as they have since 2016. That means providing a passport or ID verification before moving into the property. 

After June 30th, the government announced new legislation regarding checking an EU citizen’s right to rent. According to the Home Office, “from July 1, landlords will move from checking nationality to checking the UK immigration status of all adult applicants, regardless of where they are from”. 

If someone is an EEA, EU or Swiss national, they will need to provide evidence of their UK immigration status rather than their national identification. 

What about EU residents in the UK post-December 2020?

EU citizens moving to the UK after Britain left the EU will need to pass a points based system. They will need to use it to apply for residency, with landlords needing to check their right to live in the UK legally. 

Exactly how that will work for landlords and EU tenants in the UK is yet to be determined. However, new guidance will be published soon. Once it’s visible, we will be quick to bring you the latest details so you know what’s needed when it comes to performing Right to Rent checks for your tenants from the EU. 

Right n ready

Right to Rent will continue for landlords, and you will still need to check your incoming tenant’s documents to see if they can legally live in the UK, no matter where they’re from. But as of June 30th 2021, EU citizens who don’t have settled status will need to provide new proof that they can legally work and live in the UK. 

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