Copying Right to Rent Documents: Landlord’s Obligations

It seems that few landlords understand what their obligations are for copying Right to Rent documents. So what exactly does the law and associated guidance state? read on to find out…


Landlords must make a clear copy of each document in a format which cannot later be altered, and retain the copy securely: electronically or in hardcopy. Landlords must make a record of the date on which the check was made, and retain the copies securely for at least one year after the tenancy agreement comes to an end.


In respect of what parts of the documents should be copied, the statutory guidance says:


Passports: any page with the document expiry date, nationality, date of birth, signature, leave expiry date, biometric details and photograph, and any page containing information indicating the holder has an entitlement to enter or remain in the UK.
All other documents: the document in full, including both sides of a Biometric Residence Permit.


Where the copies are being stored electronically, they can be saved as PDF, JPEG or similar and should be securely stored.


Any electronic copy should be set up to record the date of copying to show it was done before occupation.


If a photocopy of a document is being taken, the dates can be recorded somewhere on the copy – possibly on the reverse of the page.


In order to be allowed to store copies (whether electronically or by hardcopy), a landlord or agent must be registered with the Information Commissioners Office under the Data Protection Act 1998.


If follow up checks are required, a reminder should be made of the date.


A reminder should be made upon the tenancy ending to destroy the copies 12 months after the tenancy ends. The legislation specifically says that there is no right to retain the copies beyond 12 months from when the tenancy has ended. But, the copies must be retained for at least 12 months after the tenancy has ended. Because of the possible long time that copies could need to be stored, careful consideration needs to be given to where they should be stored and either stored off site or backed up off site regularly.

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