Immigration status checks

From the 1st February 2016 all landlords are required to check the immigration status of anybody who wishes to rent a property from them. This is a requirement of the Immigration Act 2014. They have to check that you have the right to be in the country as a UK citizen, an EU citizen or have valid visa permission to be present in the UK. The checks apply to anybody wishing to rent a private property, including UK citizens.

The checks apply to all tenancies granted after December 1 2014. If you renew a tenancy signed before this date and the occupants and the terms of the contract have not changed then you are not subject to the checking procedure. If your landlord does not check your immigration status they can be fined up to £3000.

Exemptions

Is anyone exempt from having their immigration status checked?

  • Students who live in halls accommodation are not liable to be checked
  • If you are under 18 when you sign the tenancy agreement you will be exempt until the next check is due
  • If you do not pay rent and are a guest in the property
  • If the landlord is a member of your family
  • If it is holiday accommodation on a short let

What do I need to do?

If you are subject to a check you must show original evidence of your right to be in the UK such as:

  • If you are from the EEA/Swiss national a passport or national identity card
  • If you are a family member of an EEA/Swiss national EEA family permit or residence card
  • People with immigration permission to be in the UK a current passport containing a valid visa or a valid Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). If these documents are with the Home Office then you will need to give the landlord the Home Office reference number so that your status can be verified
  • A passport showing the holder is a UK citizen, a certificate of naturalization or registration as a British citizen

What if I haven’t got those documents?

If you are a UK or an EEA/Swiss national or if you have indefinite leave to remain in the UK you can provide TWO or more of the following:

  • A full birth certificate issued in the UK, Ireland or the Isle of Man
  • A letter from your educational establishment confirming your acceptance for a current course of studies
  • A full driving licence (both the photo-card and the paper part)

There is a complete list of documents on the Home Office website.

What will the landlord do with my documents?

Your landlord needs to see any originals of your documents not more than 28 days before the start of your tenancy agreement.

If you sign a contract before you arrive in the country the landlord should wait until you arrive and ask to see your documents, before you move into the property.

The landlord should take a copy of the documents and then return the originals to you they should then keep the copies for the duration of your tenancy and for a year after the tenancy ends.

If, in exceptional circumstances, the landlord cannot carry out the check, the Home Office will do it on their behalf.

What shall I do if I have a complaint?

If you are unhappy with the way a landlord or letting agent has treated you or you believe you have been unfairly charged for the checking process or excluded from renting a property you should contact the Students’ Union Advice (SUAC) suadvice@coventry.ac.uk, 02477655200