Right to Rent launch on 1 February

David Smith
Written by David Smith

The government announced that the Right to Rent is to be rolled out from 1 February 2016 across all of England. While this is not before the end of the year as I had feared and warned of, it will not be phased and will apply across a wide area. In fact, 1 February is not all that far away given the fairly big changes that agents and landlords will need to make to their procedures.

This will mean that from 1 February onwards all landlord will be obligated to check that every one of their tenants has a Right to Rent, regardless of their beliefs about that person’s origins. That means that “British” people will also need to be checked. The checks will need to be made on all adults who are residing in a property as their home, regardless of whether they are named on the tenancy agreement, and will also require checks to be made against lodgers who live with homeowners if they are living there permanently. These checks will have to be made using original documents and in the presence of the holder of that document or with them available by video link. Landlords will also need to retain copies of the original documents.

This responsibility can be passed on to a letting agent working for the landlord and this will require some liaison between them. Agents who are not carrying out this responsibility will need to make sure they have a process.

This will be a big change in the tenancy commencement process for many agents and will require changes to almost all their documents. It will also need a number of procedures to be rethought and training given to all staff. For example, agents will need to ensure that key staff can identify forgeries, that they have updated their policies on unlawful discrimination, that they have decided whether or not to carry out checks for their landlords, have set up a mechanism to store copies of documents, and have a process in place to re-check documents.

The good news is that most agents will be able to phase this in to some degree as it appears that the new checks will only apply to tenancies which commence or are actively renewed on or after 1 February and will not require checks on persons already in property.

You can read this blog, and more on the Anthony Gold website which hosts David’s blog.

Are you ready for the roll out of Right to Rent checks in England? – Training

To help landlords make sure they are following best practice the RLA has Right-to-Rent training across the country.

The RLA is offering six courses around the country to make it easier for landlords to attend. Book soon though as places will certainly go fast!

Click here for more information.

Further Information

About the author

David Smith

David Smith

David Smith is the Policy Director for the RLA and a Partner at Anthony Gold Solicitors. David obtained his degree and doctorate from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth in International relations before re-qualifying as a lawyer. He is known for his expertise in residential landlord and tenant law and has advised the Welsh Assembly, local government, and numerous landlords and tenants of all sizes.


  • I already have changed/renewed my procedures.
    This saved me a protensional problem with a new let today.
    My agent missed it and would have rented.

  • Right to rent checks. This looks like clear indication that the government wants to discourage the renting of properties. How on earth are we supposed to deal with girkfriends and other residents, who refuse to give evidence of identity, or allow us to make copies. This is going to cause many confrontations, and minorities will inevitably complain that they are being targeted because of their religion, colour, accent etc…. Madness

  • Does this mean I also have to check the ‘Right to Rent’ of my brother and sister who are also my tenants…born and bred in the UK as indeed I was…or do I need to check myself as well? Can’t help feel we landlords are suddenly unpaid Border Agents checking if Employers, Tax offices and Council benefits departments have overlooked the status of their employees and clients. With Councils being charged to check renters and landlords data via the Voting Register I feel Big Brother is starting to breath heavily.

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