There are three steps to conducting a manual document-based right to rent check. You must complete all three steps before the tenancy commences to ensure you have conducted a check in the prescribed manner, in order to establish a statutory excuse.
Please note: The following information is provided by the government in relation to guidance on Right to Rent checks. You can also find the most recent guidance here.
You should take all reasonable steps to check the validity of the documents presented to you. If you are given a false document, you will only be liable for a penalty if it is reasonably apparent that it is false. This means that a person who is untrained in the identification of false documents, examining it carefully, but briefly, and without the use of technological aids could reasonably be expected to realise that the document in question is not genuine.
You must obtain original documents to conduct the check. You must ask for and be given original documents from List A or List B of the acceptable document list.
In the presence of the prospective tenant or tenants, you must check that the:
- documents are genuine; Right to Rent: Checking the validity of documents
- documents have not been tampered with
- the person presenting them is the prospective or existing tenant and the rightful holder
- photographs and dates of birth are consistent across documents and with the person’s appearance in order to detect impersonation
- reasons for any difference in names across documents can be explained by providing evidence (for example original marriage certificate, divorce decree absolute, deed poll)
- immigration Permission to Enter or Stay in the UK has not expired
You must make a clear copy of each document in a format that cannot be altered later and retain the copy securely: electronically or in hard copy. Right to Rent: Retaining evidence of a manual check.
You must also retain a secure record of the date on which you made the check. Simply writing a date on the copy document does not, in itself, confirm that this is the actual date when the check was undertaken.
If you write a date on the copy document, you must also record that this is the date on which you conducted the check. This date may be written on the document copy as follows:
‘the date on which this right to work check was made: [insert date]'.
You must retain the copies securely for at least one year after the tenancy agreement comes to an end. The copies must then be securely destroyed.
Where a person is unable to present a landlord with any acceptable evidence, the landlord can make a request to the Landlord Checking Service to establish whether their prospective tenant has a right to rent.
You must copy and retain copies of:
- Passports – any page with:
- the document expiry date
- the holder’s nationality
- date of birth
- biometric details
- any page containing information indicating the holder has an entitlement to permission, Enter or Stay in the UK (visa or entry stamp)
- All other documents – the documents in full and copy both sides.