Later this month, the Home Office will launch a webpage allowing landlords to check online and in real time that certain tenants are permitted to stay and rent property in the UK.
Currently, landlords are obligated to ask prospective tenants to provide original documents that prove that they can live and rent in the UK, which the landlord must check manually. After the 25th November, landlords will be able to conduct checks using a Home Office webpage. The system will involve a prospective tenant giving permission for the prospective landlord to view their Home Office immigration record by providing a ‘share code’, which will allow the landlord to check whether the prospective tenant matches the pictures shown online. This will have to be done in the presence of the prospective tenant or via video link.
The system will also confirm whether the tenant has a right to continuously rent, or if their right is time limited.
This has been set up by the Home Office in an attempt to reduce the burden on landlords, who are expected to act as immigration officers. This heavy burden was reason for the National Residential Landlords Association to intervene in a Court of Appeal Case earlier this year. In this case, the court held that the discrimination caused by the right to rent scheme was justified by the public interest in immigration control. Until the case is appealed in the Supreme Court, then, the scheme will remain functional.
If you want to find out how the scheme works, there is a guide here. Please note that the online checks will only be available for EEA nationals and their family members who have been granted status under the EU settlement scheme, non-EEA nationals with a biometric residence permit, and points-based system migrants. Otherwise, documents will still need to be checked manually or by putting in a request to the Landlord Checking Service.
Stella Maris Solicitors LLP are experts in immigration law, and in housing law. If you have any questions about your right to rent or any issues with your tenants, please do not hesitate to contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or via telephone on 01793 296118.
 R (Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ 542.