Sections 20-37 of the Immigration Act 2014 require landlords to check the immigration status of their prospective tenants - and all prospective occupants over 18 - before they let out a property.

What are the restrictions that could prevent a visitor, worker, student, spouse, or tourist from renting a flat or apartment? What are the penalties? Must I show a prospective landlord my ENTIRE travel history? Can the landlord make photocopies and thus expose me to identity theft? Will the landlord keep my documents safe? Most importantly, how much extra time should I plan for when renting accommodation to allow for this new rule?

Note: I'm not asking if you agree with the rule, it's a matter a law. And I'm not asking how they plan to enforce it, because culpability lies solely upon the landlord, not the migrant.

  • 1
    How would they even check this? A landlord cannot be expected to know the ins and outs of different kinds of legal documents.
    – Ansari
    Dec 16, 2014 at 19:13
  • @Ansari, that's a different question from the LANDLORD's point of view :)
    – Gayot Fow
    Dec 16, 2014 at 19:20
  • That's mostly aimed at longer term rentals, not short holiday lets, so I'm not sure it'll apply for someone on a tourist visa / waiver wanting somewhere for a week. If you're getting a proper 6+ month tenancy, you'll need some sort of visa / EU passport, so not sure what the issue there would be?
    – Gagravarr
    Dec 16, 2014 at 23:15
  • I believe the section 5 (page 15 onwards) in this code of practice document tells you what a landlord needs to see, what they need to copy etc
    – Gagravarr
    Dec 16, 2014 at 23:24

1 Answer 1


As you're asking for this from the perspective of the Landlord, the Code of Practice document is your best resource here. (Thanks to Gagravarr for the link)

To answer your questions:

  1. Only main residences are covered by these rules. The code of practice specifically excludes short term visitor holiday rentals. The code of practice covers many scenarios and their specific restrictions. This includes student halls of residence and many of the other items you queried. The exact restrictions are detailed over many pages of the Code of Practice, and are too long to summarise here.
  2. Penalties vary depending on the situation and whether previous issues have occurred. These are also in the practice document. Penalties range from £80 (first breach, for lodgers), £1,000 (first breach, rented accommodation), to £3,000 (multiple breaches, rented accommodation).
  3. The landlord doesn't need to know your entire travel history. What they require from you varies depending on your status, and can either be a single document (eg: a UK passport), or multiple documents. See section 5.2 (page 18) of the practice document for details.
  4. The landlord is required to make copies. Page 17 of the Code of Practice says "Supporting documents should also be photocopied and the copy retained." The Code of Practice also reminds landlords of their obligations to protect this data on page 17 of the Code of Practice. The Citizens Advice Immigration Checks by Landlords page indicates they should keep the supporting documents for 1 year after the lease concludes.

If the landlord is unable to satisfy themselves that you are in the country legally, they can make a request to the Home Office’s Landlords Checking Service online. It appears that a Alpha version of the software is available Right to Rent. The Code of Practice indicates that the Home Office will answer within two days.

I expect the amount of extra time this will take should be minimal, if you have the appropriate documents. In the worst case, it only should take an extra 2 days for the landlord to get confirmation from the Home Office.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.