I understand landlords are required to undertake right-to-rent checks, to check their tenants have the right to stay in the UK. I am currently renting a house on the basis of my Tier 4 student visa.

However, the rental contract ends long after my Tier 4 visa expires. (I'm obviously not planning on overstaying my visa - I'll be going home for about a month and then returning to the UK to tie up some loose ends.) As I'll be returning to the UK on the basis of my non-visa national status, will I have the right to remain on the contract? I don't want to get my landlord or flatmates in trouble.


Hi, original poster here. I don't have enough reputation to comment, but I feel it's important to clarify the question. Please feel free to remove my edits if they break the rules.

@Arthur's Pass thank you, posted it there!

@Moo thanks for your comment! I'm wondering whether my perceived intentions are in fact relevant? It seems like 'right to rent' is a solid legal concept, not based on anyone's perceived intentions. My question is what 'right to rent' legally constitutes.

The Home Office Code of Practice says '[s]omeone will have the ‘right to rent’ in the UK provided they are present lawfully in accordance with immigration laws'. This includes '‘leave to enter or remain in the UK’ [which] means that a person has permission from the Home Office to be in the UK. Permission may be time-limited or indefinite.' Unrelated Home Office guidance further states that non-visa nationals 'apply for leave to enter as a visitor on arrival at the UK border' (instead of applying for a visa in advance). So it would seem like I have a right to rent as long as I am legally admitted into the UK via my passport, but I don't want to make any assumptions, hence my question.

It's worth mentioning I'm not concerned about gaining entry to the UK. My family and I frequently use the automatic egates for entry (for holiday purposes) with no issues. In event of being redirected to the manned counters, I'm a Registered Traveller.

@Patricia thanks for your comment too. That's the crux of my dilemma – that I didn't actively renew the contract. Most foreigners (i.e. no UK-based guarantor) have to sign and pay a lump sum for fixed periods of time (6 months to 1 year, rather than the usual monthly rent payment). The last 6-month period happened to extend past my visa expiry date. I'm sure this is a common scenario amongst renting foreigners, and I'm wondering what happens in this scenario. Should I ask to be taken off the contract, despite the fact that I've already had to pay for those remaining months?

I'm also confused by the concept of 'an attempt to continue living in the UK'. Many people from my country own and/or rent out (as opposed to rent) property in the UK, and hence make frequent trips to the UK. The UK government doesn't seem to care, and sometimes even endorses it. What if I were coming back to look at purchasing property (which I genuinely may do)? Where is the line drawn?

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    This is probably better asked on Expatriates. FWIW as I understand it, even if you're denied entry to the UK, there's nothing stopping you from renting a house there and leaving it empty while you live abroad. I don't see a problem with what you're proposing provided that when you are in the UK you have legal status. Unfortunately, the landlord might not see it that way. This is an unfortunate side-effect of recent legislation: landlords, employers and others are suddenly expected to become immigration experts. – CatchAsCatchCan Nov 30 '19 at 23:01
  • I see bigger issues with your travel intentions than your rental - returning after recently leaving on an expired visa will raise a lot of red flags, and you will need a very good case for entry. – Moo Dec 1 '19 at 0:39
  • Further to @Moo's point, staying on the rental contract may make your trip look more like an attempt to continue living in the UK and less like a visit. – Patricia Shanahan Dec 1 '19 at 0:44
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    You can always comment on your own question and edit it. If you don't have enough reputation to comment or to edit without having the edit go through the approval process, it's because you've logged in with a separate account. – phoog Dec 1 '19 at 6:17

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