Homeless - not entitled to benefits

Can I rent privately?

Landlords in England are required to check the immigration status of new tenants and other adult occupants of their property. Landlords will carry out a background check on potential tenants and ask for proof of their immigration status. The landlord must ensure those who are occupying the property fit into one of the following groups: 

  • A relevant national: a citizen of the UK, the European Economic Area or Switzerland
  • A person with an indefinite ‘right to rent’: someone with indefinite leave to remain or right of abode in the UK.
  • A person with a ‘time-limited right to rent’: someone who has limited leave to remain in the UK or a right to live in the UK under EU law (not a European citizen because they are ‘relevant nationals’ but, for example, the non-European husband, or the non-British parent of a British child who has no other leave).
  • A person with a ‘discretionary right to rent’

In practice, most people who have no recourse to public funds will not fall into the categories of those who have a ‘right to rent’. 

The prohibition on renting to people who do not have a ‘right to rent’ extends to the immigration status of all adults who are planning to, or do, live in the property. Private renting tenants, who themselves have a right to rent will not be able to sub-let a room to someone who does not have a right to rent.

However, people will not be required to undertake checks when they have house guests, such as friends or family members, who are not paying rent and are not living in the accommodation as their only or main home. 

These restrictions do not apply to accommodation in hostels, refuges, hospitals, hospices, provided by local authorities or provided by the Home Office.