definition of citizen typed

It might feel like a minefield knowing who needs to prove their right to rent and who doesn’t. From Uk citizens to non-UK citizens, you’ll need to know the difference from the very get-go of your screening process. 


It doesn’t need to feel complicated. Just follow this handy guide to understand if Uk citizens need to prove their right to rent as well as understand which documents will show this. 


There have been a few changes in the last few years and that’s been because of the effects of the pandemic which we have all felt. Landlords especially. 

Uk passport with £20 notes and Canadian passport


Screening processes have been adapted and changed to make sure prospective tenants and landlords are kept safe. Previously, tenants and landlords could exchange papers electronically and via zoom. With restrictions now deemed unnecessary, your tenants will have to prove their right to rent with physical copies of the appropriate documents. 


Furthermore, all migrant tenants should be using and complying with the online biometric residence permit. But more on this later on. 


Making sure you have a strong screening process from the get-go is essential. We’ve got some handy advice at CIA to help you get started and beyond. 


If you’re looking to update or start a new landlord or insurance policy, get in touch with us today. 


Before we jump in, what is the right to rent? 


You’re legally required as a landlord or letting agent to check the immigration status of all tenants.  Through your screening process, you should get a good picture of who you are embarking into an AST (assured tenancy agreement) with. 


You need to know every person who will be living in the property and their immigration status too. The right-to-rent check must take place before the AST begins. 


But what happens if the tenant is a UK Citizen? Do the same rules apply? 


two women hug. older lady hugs younger lady


How can UK citizens prove their right to rent?


Effective, yes they do. 


All tenants over the age of 18 and who are living on the premises (whether they are on the AST or not) must be checked for their right to rent. 


It is considerably easier for a UK Citizen to prove their right to rent. With the absence of visas and embassy paperwork, UK citizens can prove their right to rent by presenting one of the three following documents. 

Biometric Residence Card/ Permit 

This online documentation and database hold the person’s name, date and place of birth. This may be used and issued to migrants with ongoing citizenship applications as well as those who have been accepted as UK citizens. 


If you were born in the UK you should have a UK passport which is a perfectly fitting documentation to help prove your right to rent checks. 

National Identity Card 

Your national identity card is also a valid form of documentation to prove your right to rent as a UK citizen. 


What happens if you do not ask your tenants to prove their right to rent?


The penalty for not complying with a right-to-rent check is hefty to say the least. The government is trying to make sure no illegal immigrants fall through the net and therefore your checks are a vital tool for helping with that. 


The penalty for intentionally not conducting right-to-rent checks could result in five years in prison or an unlimited fine. Ouch. 


If you’d like to get more advice on the right to rent you can always explore the .gov website 


Getting you off on the right foot with our advice page could save any unsavoury issues with right-to-rent checks. For your ease, get in touch to discuss landlords and building insurance and give yourself some peace of mind. 

We won't be beaten on any like for like landlord insurance quote.

Get a quote