Understanding right to rent share codes for Landlords

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right to rent share code on laptop

Right to rent share codes may sound complicated but there are really only a few things you need to know about them, how to use them and what tenents need than and understanding what this means for referencing tenants in general. Read on for all you need to know.

First of all, what is a right to rent share code?

A right to rent share code is a unique 9-character code that can be generated through the Home Office online service. It serves as digital proof of a renter’s legal immigration status and right to rent property in the UK.

Who can generate a right to rent share code?

The tenant must generate the right to rent share code as they must provide the right document online or they must.

Pointing them in the direction of the step by step instructions provided by the government would be a good first step in getting them to prove their right to rent. Alternatively, you could outsource the tenant referencing process to an agent who will be able to help the tenant with this. 

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Who needs a right to rent share code?

Only those who aren’t citizens of the UK need a right to rent share code. This means there are a few exemptions where a right to rent share code would not be needed which include:

  • If you are a British or Irish citizen
  • If you are renting social housing, a care home, hospice, hospital, hostel, refuge, student accommodation or mobile home
  • If you have indefinite leave to remain (i.e. settled status) you can still choose to use physical documents as proof instead of the online service

Receiving a right to rent share code

Tenants will receive a right to rent share code but how should they transfer it to their landlord for them to check if the code works?

When you get your share code, what does it look like?

A right to rent share code appears as a randomly generated combination of 9 letters and numbers. For example: AB12C3D4E

a man sending his right to rent share code

How to share your right to rent

To share your right to rent with a prospective landlord or letting agent, simply provide them with your 9-digit share code along with your date of birth. They can then enter this information into the Home Office system to confirm your status.

Because the code must be entered online by the landlord or the estate agent you are providing it to to verify it, there is no need for you to prove that it is from the government website or forward any official documents. The landlord can just visit this link and begin checking if the code works.

How many numbers is a right to rent share code?

A right to rent share code consists of 9 characters total – a mix of both letters and numbers.

Does a right to rent share code ever expire?

Yes, share codes have an expiration date. They are valid for 90 days from the date of generation. Within that 90 day period, the share code can be used as many times as needed with different prospective landlords or agents. 

So, if a right to rent share code isn’t working and the tenant has been trying to find somewhere to rent for a while, it could be the case that they do have the right to rent but their code is just expired in which case they will just have to apply again online here.

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What should you do if the tenant cannot generate their right to rent share code?

If the tenant is unable to provide a valid right to rent share code because they can’t generate it, you must use the landlord’s checking service to request a Home Office right to rent check instead here.

The service can verify if the tenant still has the legal right to rent – for example, if the Home Office has their documents on file, if they have an outstanding case or appeal, or if the Home Office has granted them permission to rent.

To use this service, you will need the tenant’s Home Office reference number and the Home Office will provide an answer within 2 working days.

a man waiting for 2 working days

What should you do if the tenant does not have a Home Office Reference number?

If the tenant is unable to provide you with a valid Home Office reference number, you may be able to check their documents manually to see if they have it on a:

  • Biometric residence permit
  • Biometric residence card
  • Passport or travel documents

Carefully verify that the documents are current, consistent across all IDs, and have this Home Office Reference number. Make dated copies of the relevant pages and information to keep it as part of your statutory record.

What should you do if none of the codes are working?

You should not rent property in England to someone if all of the following apply:

  • They do not have the proper physical documents proving right to rent
  • They cannot provide a valid share code
  • The Home Office right to rent check via the landlord service confirms they are not allowed to rent
right to rent code that is not working

Following this process allows you to properly verify the tenant’s immigration status and right to rent when a share code is not available and if none of this works, the tenant likely hasn’t followed the correct immigration process and you should refer them to new immigration advice that is provided by the government.

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