Understanding right to rent share codes

Home » Welcome to Cozee » Resources » The process of renting a property explained for landlords » Understanding right to rent share codes

Right to rent in the UK and London

Right to rent codes are given by the government and are used to validate a tenant’s right to rent. But, how do they work and what does it look like for different types of citizens?

First of all, what is right to rent?

The 2016 Right to Rent legislation aims to deter illegal immigrants from renting and imposes additional responsibilities on landlords. Find out more about it below.

The definition of right to rent

Right to rent is the check that the UK government does so that citizens and non-citizens are registered to rent and aren’t renting illegally

Changes to right to rent

Starting from April 6th, 2022, there have been revisions to the government guidance too. Even for short term lets. Verifying a tenant’s right to rent is now a bit harder.

Now, those holding a Biometric Residence Card, Biometric Residence Permit or Frontier Worker Permit cannot use this as proof of their right to rent through the Home Office. 

a-tenant-showing-her-immigration-status

For the online service to prove your right to rent and more about the process click here

The online journey to check a tenant’s right to rent as a landlord

The steps of proving right to rent are detailed below. and begin by making sure that a tenant is of age to rent a property.

Who has to prove their right to rent

Individuals aged 18 or older seeking to rent property in England and Wales must demonstrate their legal entitlement to do so before the start of a tenancy under the law. This includes British citizens and and non-british citizens.

Overall, these right to rent rules require prospective tenants to verify their nationality and immigration status in order to legally reside in a rented property in England. The process aims to ensure only those with lawful status can access housing.

What is a right to rent share code?

A sharecode, consisting of 9 characters, is created using the Home Office online service and remains valid for 90 days, allowing multiple uses within this timeframe by starting here. To complete a right-to-rent check, tenants can give this share code along with their date of birth to their potential agents or landlords.

How to check right to rent manually

To manually verify a tenant’s right to rent, which can only be done if the tenant is a UK national, you must request original documents (not copies) from each tenant aged 18 and above, demonstrating their eligibility to rent in the UK.

For UK or Irish citizens, this typically involves presenting their passport or birth certificate. Refer to the government website for a comprehensive list of acceptable documents for renting a house or flat. 

When scrutinising the documents, ensure they are originals, undamaged, and unaltered, explicitly indicating the tenant’s authorisation to stay in the UK within the specified timeframe. 

Additionally, confirm the tenants’ identifiability from the provided photographs and verify that the documents include accurate dates of birth and names, unless accompanied by supporting information, such as a marriage certificate, in case of a name change.

Cozee are experts in right to rent

reference tenant’s right to rent without any hassle

Cozee are experts at this and are able to reference tenant’s right to rent without an hassle, help them find you a tenant today

As a landlord what are my obligations?

As a landlord in England, you have a legal responsibility to ensure that individuals without lawful immigration status are not granted access to the private rental sector. This obligation is enforced through the Right to Rent Scheme, established under sections 20 to 37 of the Immigration Act 2014. 

It mandates that you conduct a right to rent checks on all prospective adult tenants before the start date of a tenancy agreement to verify their immigration status.

Landlord’s obligations

The obligations for landlords include:

  • Verifying the immigration status: This applied to all adult tenants, ensuring compliance with the Right to Rent Scheme

or

  • Transferring liability to an agent: This includes making sure that the agent is aware that it is their job and signing the right contracts in order to do so according to legislation on right to rent you can read more of here.

Failure to fulfil these obligations may result in civil penalties, which have been significantly increased in the latest update to the guidance. It’s crucial for landlords to stay updated with changes in regulations and follow the prescribed procedures to avoid penalties and ensure compliance with the law.

Agent’s obligations when property is managed

When a property is managed by an agent on behalf of the landlord, the agent also assumes obligations regarding right to rent checks. An agent, acting in the course of business, is required to conduct the same checks and follow the same procedures as landlords to verify the immigration status of prospective tenants. 

This ensures that both landlords and agents are held accountable for preventing individuals without lawful immigration status from accessing the rental market.

Agents must adhere to the Code of Practice for landlords to avoid unlawful discrimination and conduct checks diligently to establish a statutory excuse against liability for penalties.

Overwhelmed with your oblligations as a landlord?

Don’t worry, Cozee help manage your tenants for you and deal with right to rent

How to share your right to rent

You can share your right to rent code directly with an agent trying to rent your property. If you do not share it you will be unable to rent. Landlords can also speak to tenants and then share codes with agents if necessary.

It is worth noting that you do not need to share your right to rent if you are renting commercial property such as an office because these types of property require additional documents anyway that are related to registering a limited company.

Proving you have the right to rent

Every adult residing in the property must undergo a right-to-rent check, extending to all tenants and not solely those suspected to be foreign nationals. 

Discrimination based on nationality or race during these checks is unlawful. You have two choices for conducting a right-to-rent check: utilising a government share code online here or manually verifying documents, but manually verifying documents cannot be done for foreign nationals.

foreign-nationals-right-to-rent

Property owners could face fines of £3,000 per tenant or even imprisonment if they let to individuals without permission to rent in England. Carefully check tenants’ right-to-rent documents to avoid penalties and stay up to date on the government’s regulations around this here.

How does it work if you are a British citizen?

British citizens can go through the standard process of referring to the government website and supplying a form of ID like passport or driving licence to their landlord. In England, tenants must prove their right to rent to landlords before signing a lease. British and Irish citizens can show passports or citizenship certificates. 

However, other foreign nationals need to provide either a share code obtained online or original immigration documents. 

Landlords cannot reject applications if eligible immigration papers are presented rather than a share code. If unable to definitively establish a right to rent, landlords can request a Home Office check. Commonwealth citizens may qualify through the Windrush Scheme. 

How does it work if you are from outside of the UK?

If a tenancy is ending and a foreign tenant is looking to move in, you will have to provide a right to rent share code by going to the official government website here and following their steps.

If this is not possible, there is also something called a Home Office right to rent check where a landlord can submit an appeal for a tenant unable to get a share code. Read more about this on the UK Home Office website here.

Right to rent as a student 

In October 2022, the UK government implemented new Right to Rent checks for students seeking accommodation in the private rental sector. 

A-student-reading-her-right-to-rent-documents

These mandatory verification procedures apply when renting privately, but not for university halls of residence, which are exempt. The aim is to confirm that foreign students have lawful immigration status permitting them to live in rented housing while studying in the UK.

Have there been any changes to the right to rent in recent years?

As of April 6, 2022, significant changes have been implemented regarding the utilisation of biometric cards as proof of the right to rent. Individuals holding these cards can no longer rely on the physical card itself as evidence; instead, they are now obligated to utilise the Home Office online service for this purpose.

What is digital evidence of immigration status?

An eVisa serves as a digital documentation of your immigration status and the terms of your authorisation to enter or reside in the UK. To access and securely share pertinent details about your status with third parties like employers or landlords, it’s necessary to sign up for a UKVI account.

a-tenant-holding-her-passport

Do you need a biometric residence permit?

The biometric residence permit serves as proof of immigration status and entitlement to public services in the UK and can be used as part of the process of obtaining a right to rent share code. 

It can also be used for identification purposes like opening a bank account. While not mandatory to carry at all times, the permit must be presented along with a passport when travelling outside the UK and upon re-entry to confirm valid leave to remain and any restrictions too.

Looking to buy or sell your property? Go with Cozee

  • Trusted estate agent
  • More than 25 years of experience combined
  • We help you focus on your objective (investment, 1st time buy)
Skyscrapers of London