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Right to Rent: A Tenant’s Guide to the Landlord Immigration Checks

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Posted on March 04th 2016

JCWI has been monitoring the Right to Rent scheme since the pilot was launched in five local authorities in the West Midlands on 1st December 2014. We produced an independent evaluation of the scheme which found that discrimination had occurred as a result. The full report ‘No Passport Equals No Home: an independent evaluation of the right to rent scheme’ was published on 3 September 2015 and is available to download here.

JCWI’s Policy team has now produced a useful guide on the checks which is intended for tenants and those advising individuals in the private rented sector, both those currently renting or seeking a property to rent. It is intended as a guide to ensure that tenants and practitioners understand:

  • The background to the ‘right to rent’ scheme
  • The requirements of the scheme
  • How to prepare for a ‘right to rent’ check
  • How to prove you have the ‘right to rent’
  • What to do if you do not have the ‘right to rent’
  • How to recognise discrimination and protect your rights
  • How to challenge discrimination


Under provisions introduced through the Immigration Act 2014, commonly termed the ‘right to rent’ scheme, all adults in the UK who are subject to immigration control and require permission to enter or remain in the UK but do not have it are disqualified from entering into a private residential tenancy agreement.

Landlords have a duty to check the immigration status of adult occupiers of private rental properties:

1.      Where they are using or intending to use the property as their only or main home

2.      If it is not an exempt property

If a landlord fails to complete the checks and rents a property to someone who does not have the ‘right to rent’ landlords could be fined up to £3,000 per adult by way of a civil penalty notice.

In Birmingham, Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton the scheme applies to private residential tenancies entered into after 1st December 2014. In the rest of England, it applies to new tenancies entered into after 1st February 2016

The full guide can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

Please continue to share your experiences:

JCWI continues to monitor the scheme and calls on all landlords, agents, tenants and lodgers, as well as housing practitioners, charities and local authorities to contribute further evidence of their experiences of the ‘right to rent’ checks. We would like to hear from any who has experience of the scheme, or if you think you may be affected in the future.

We are seeking the following information:

  • What is your experience of the right to rent scheme?
  • As a housing practitioner, charity or local authority, what impact have you noticed on your service users?

If you are willing to share your experiences with us or have queries about the scheme in general, please contact our policy team:

Charlotte Peel | Policy Officer | JCWI

115 Old Street |London | EC1V 9RT

Tel: 020 7553 7457


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