A Home Office online right to rent check will provide you with a statutory excuse against liability for a civil penalty. You can do this by using the online service ‘View a tenant’s right to rent in England’ page on the government portal.
The online service supports checks for a range of individuals, depending on the type of immigration documentation they are issued with but this does not apply to all international applicants as not everyone will have an immigration status that can be checked online. Where an online check is not possible, you should conduct a manual check.
The online right to rent service sets out what information you will need to complete an online check. Some individuals can only use the online service to prove their right to rent such as applicants with a Biometric Residence Card.
How does the service work?
Individuals using the service must select one of the three reasons for sharing their immigration status. For prospective or current renters, they must select the option ‘prove your right to rent in England’.
After selecting the correct option, the renter can then generate a 9-character long share code that can be passed on to a landlord, which, when entered alongside the individual’s date of birth, enables you to access the information.
The share code will be valid for 90 days from the point it has been issued and can be used as many times as needed within that time. Share codes can only be used for the purpose they were originally selected for.
Since 10 January 2022, all status share codes begin with a letter denoting the purpose the share code can be used for. Where a share code begins with the letter ‘R’, this will indicate that the share code has been generated by a renter to evidence their right to rent.
Landlords will not be able to accept or use share codes that begin with the letter ‘W’ or ‘S’ as these are designed for other services.
If a share code has expired, or the tenant has used a code generated by another service, you must ask them to resend you a new right to rent share code. Where an individual provides you with a share code via the Home Office online service, you must carry out the check by accessing the 'View a tenant’s right to rent in England' page in order to obtain a statutory excuse against a civil penalty. It is not sufficient to view the details provided to your renter on the migrant part of the service; ‘Prove your right to rent to a landlord’.
The online service allows checks to be carried out by video call. You do not need to see physical documents as the right to rent information is provided in real-time directly from Home Office systems.
There are three steps to conducting a Home Office online check. You need to complete all three steps before the tenancy commences to ensure you have conducted the check, in the prescribed manner to establish a statutory excuse.
For the step by step guide please click here.