Home Office introduces online right to rent check service and confirms rules for B5JSSK nationals

    21 October 2020

    Eligible tenants will now be able to prove their right to rent online via the Home Office’s new online checking service, while the rules for conducting right to rent checks on B5JSSK nationals arriving via e-passport gates have been clarified.

    A Revised Code of Practice on Right to Rent officially replaces the previous version on 2 November 2020 and has set out the details of the Home Office’s new online right to rent check service, in addition to confirming how visitors from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States with biometric passports (also known as “B5JSSK nationals”) can prove their right to rent.

    New Home Office online right to rent check service

    Eligible tenants can now choose to prove their right to rent via the Home Office’s online checking service. Currently, the Home Office online checking service supports checks for those who hold a biometric residence permit, a biometric residence card, or a status issued under the EU Settlement Scheme.

    Prospective tenants must first view their own right to rent record using the ‘prove your right to rent to a landlord or agent’ service. They can then choose to share this information with the landlord, by providing them with a ‘share code’, which, when entered along with the individual’s date of birth, enables the landlord to access the information. The prospective tenant or tenant may provide this to the landlord directly, or they may choose to send this via the service. 

    Although landlords may encourage use of the online service, they are not permitted to mandate online checks. If a prospective tenant does not wish to demonstrate their right to rent using the Home Office online checking service, even if their immigration status or documentation is compatible with the service, the landlord will need to conduct the manual check. 

    Right to rent checks for B5JSSK nationals

    Nationals of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States with biometric passports (also known as “B5JSSK nationals”) are able to use ePassport gates at UK airports, sea ports and Brussels and Paris Eurostar terminals, to enter the United Kingdom. 

    Those entering the UK as a visitor are granted automatic leave to enter for a maximum period of up to six months and will not have a document to evidence their right to rent in the UK. From 2 November 2020, B5JSSK nationals will be permitted to use a combination of their passport, plus evidence of entry to the UK to demonstrate a right to rent. 

    Acceptable evidence of entry may include (but is not restricted to) either one, or a combination, of the following:

    • An original or copy of a boarding pass or electronic boarding pass for air, rail or sea travel to the UK, establishing the date of arrival in the UK in the last six months
    • An original or copy airline, rail or boat ticket or e-ticket establishing the date of arrival in the UK in the last six months
    • Any type of booking confirmation (original or copy) for air, rail or sea travel to the UK establishing the date of arrival in the UK in the last six months
    • Any other documentary evidence which establishes the date of arrival in the UK in the last six months.

    Once the initial right to rent checks have been satisfied, the landlord has established a “time-limited statutory excuse”. This time-limited statutory excuse lasts either for 12 months from the date of the right to rent check or until expiry of the person’s permission to be in the UK, or until expiry of the validity of their document which evidences their right to be in the UK, whichever is later. Follow-up checks should be undertaken to ensure the tenant has proof of their continued right to rent before this time-limited statutory excuse expires. 

    This article is based on the government’s “Revised Code of Practice on right to rent” and is intended as a guide only and should not be construed as legal advice. For more information, see gov.uk.

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