Who you have to check
You must check that a tenant or lodger can legally rent your residential property in England.
Check with the Home Office if the tenant is a Commonwealth citizen but does not have the right documents – they might still have the right to rent in the UK.
Before the start of a new tenancy, you must check all tenants aged 18 and over, even if:
- they’re not named on the tenancy agreement
- there’s no tenancy agreement
- the tenancy agreement is not in writing
Check all new tenants. It’s against the law to only check people you think are not British citizens. You must not discriminate against anyone because of where they’re from.
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If the tenant is only allowed to stay in the UK for a limited time, you need to do the check in the 28 days before the start of the tenancy.
You do not need to check tenants in these types of accommodation:
- social housing
- a care home, hospice or hospital
- a hostel or refuge
- a mobile home
- student accommodation
You also do not need to check tenants if they live in accommodation that:
- is provided by a local authority
- is provided as part of their job (known as ‘tied accommodation’)
- has a lease that’s 7 years or longer
Read the code of practice to find out if you need to do any other checks instead.
Becoming a resident landlord
You’re a resident landlord if you let out part of a property which is your only or main home.
If you only occasionally rent out part of your home (for example through short-term rental apps), check if you need to tell HMRC about this income.
If so, you’ll have certain rights and responsibilities:
- you’re responsible for keeping the property safe and in good repair
- a tenant or lodger doesn’t have the right to challenge the agreed rent
- you may be able to earn £7,500 per year tax-free under the Rent a Room Scheme
- you can give less notice to end a letting than if you rented out the property as a whole
Ask potential tenants or lodgers for references and follow them up before signing any agreement. Read the guide about letting rooms in your home for more information.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) and your responsibilities
Your responsibilities as a resident landlord have not changed because of coronavirus. You can read more coronavirus and renting guidance for tenants and landlords.