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With support from the following housing associations

Innisfree Housing Association Tamil Community Housing Association

What's new? - recent updates to the site

This page summarises updates to the site and new publications relevant to migrants' housing rights. Go to the Brexit page for news on the rights of European nationals now that the UK has left the EU. Go the coronavirus page for the latest information and guidance during the current crisis.

Rough sleeping will be grounds for withdrawing limited leave to remain

Under the new immigration rules that take effect on December 1 2020, rough sleeping will become grounds for refusal or cancellation of permission to be in the UK. Charities describe this as a “huge step backwards”, which would
prevent vulnerable people from asking for help. On November 6, CIH, Crisis and 70 other organisations wrote to the government protesting about these changes.

Some non-UK nationals could now have their visas cancelled if they sleep rough. If they are applying for a visa, their application could be refused on this basis.

The rules may affect:

  • people on work, visitor and student visas
  • some victims of trafficking and modern slavery
  • people with UK ancestry visas
  • a number of other categories of migrant, including EU citizens who do not apply to the EU Settlement Scheme before June 30 2021.

They could also affect new arrivals from the EU after December 31 2020.

The new rules will not apply to:

  • most refugees and asylum seekers
  • anyone applying to remain in the UK on the basis of their private life under Article 8 of the ECHR
  • family members applying for leave under Appendix FM of the immigration rules
  • people with indefinite leave to remain
  • former members of the UK armed forces and their family members
  • applicants to the EU Settlement Scheme.

Right to rent - latest

In September, the Home Office issued a new code of practice for landlords when they are checking whether people have a “right to rent”. A new code is needed because the Immigration (Residential Accommodation) (Prescribed Requirements and Codes of Practice) (Amendment) Order 2020 came into force on November 2. A factsheet detailing the legislative changes can be found here (pdf).

This makes changes to the 2014 Order which governs how landlords (or their agent) should conduct right to rent checks and gives force to the code of practice. The main purpose of the 2014 order is to set how right to rent checks are conducted with a prospective tenant. In particular it specifies which combination of documents must be seen according to the prospective tenant’s right to rent status (i.e. ‘relevant national’, ‘indefinite right to rent’ ‘time-limited right to rent’, ‘discretionary right to rent’). If it later turns out that their tenant did not have the right to rent the landlord only has a defence to any prosecution if s/he carried out the checks in the way the order requires them to. The 2014 order provided no alternative to the physical document checks it required.

This new order amends the 2014 order so that from November 2, 2020 it:

  • allows tenants to use the Home Office online checking service as an alternative to showing physical documents to their landlords, in cases where there is a Home Office record of their status
  • amends the list of documents that landlords can rely on (UK birth and adoption certificates are now acceptable in their short form as well as the long form)
  • provides for documents issued to non-EEA family members under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) to be recognised as documents which can be relied upon by landlords
  • makes technical changes to the scheme so that nationals of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the USA can demonstrate their right to rent if they enter the UK through ePassport gates or other routes without having their passport stamped; and
  • replaces the existing code of practice with the new code.

The code of practice is intended to ensure that landlords do not discriminate when they carry these checks. You can find out more about right to checks by landlords and the code of practice on the housing rights website page.

During the coronavirus crisis the government changed some of the rules about checking the right to rent. Go to the coronavirus page for more information.

Changes in allocations and homelessness rules

Changes in allocations and homelessness regulations give eligibility for housing help to two new categories of people: people who are “stateless” and certain family members of people in Northern Ireland. You can see the details, and an explanatory note, here.  The amendments finally include stateless people as eligible. This was a gap for some time, since they had leave with recourse to public funds, could claim benefits but were not eligible for a housing allocation or for homelessness help. The new rules took effect on August 24 and the website has been amended to reflect them

New pages on common immigration terms

To help users of the site, we've created new pages for England and Wales and for Scotland, explaining common immigration terms such as 'public funds' and 'right of abode'.

New section on European family members with a permanent right to reside

We have expanded the sections on EEA family members in England and Wales and Scotland to describe how they acquire the permanent right to reside, depending how long they have been in the UK and the family member they have been with.

New page on applying for council housing in England and Wales

Our guidance to people applying for a housing allocation (or via the waiting list) has been updated.


Recent publications

Below are recent publications for housing advisers which will be added to the site on the pages on 'What other organisations can help' or 'Other information for advisers', according to whether they are relevant to England or Scotland, or both.

New briefings from NHF on assisting people with no recourse and on assisting people apply to the EU Settlement Scheme

The briefing on NRPF is here and on assisting people apply to the EUSS is here.

Asylum seekers experiencing domestic abuse

ASAP has updated its briefing (pdf) on the help victims should expect to receive. It has an overview of the practical steps that need to be taken to secure a Home Office funded refuge placement through s98/s95 and s4 support. 

Children and British citizenship

PRCBC have guides to help people establish that their children have British citizenship.

Help in applying for universal credit

Citizens Advice has guidance on how to apply in 14 different languages.

Housing Allocation and Homelessness: Law and Practice - now free!

This detailed handbook is being made available free by the publisher, as a pdf. A new edition will be published in 2021.

Updated guide for those advising Polish victims of domestic abuse

Vesta has an updated guide to the housing rights of Polish people who experience domestic abuse, produced by housing rights author Sue Lukes. Getting and paying for housing is available in both English and Polish.

Government publications for refugees and asylum seekers

The Home Office has published a welcome guide for refugees setting out their rights to housing and other services. There is also a guide for asylum seekers living in temporary accommodation, to help with problems that might arise, and another on rights and expectations. All three are available in various languages.

The DWP has issued a guide for refugees on applying for benefits during the 28-day period after which they have to leave asylum accommodation. It also briefly covers getting a bank account and finding housing.

This guide explains benefit availability for refugees with different kinds of leave to remain.

Challenging discrimination in private renting

A new guide produced for the Welsh Government but which applies more widely aims to reduce mistreatment and discrimination suffered by private tenants.

Right to Remain Toolkit

The Right to Remain Toolkit is a guide to the UK immigration and asylum system with excellent, plain English explanations of how immigration law works, mainly aimed at people who want to establish or fight for their right to remain in the UK

Resettling refugees - Support after the first year

A guide from the LGA for local authorities, prepared by Migration Yorkshire.

Helping refugees making homelessness applications

The Refugee Council has prepared a guide to help anyone supporting refugees make homelessness applications to local authorities.


We welcome suggestions for updating the guidance on the Housing Rights website and for including links to relevant new sources of guidance or information.

Please email policyandpractice@cih.org with any suggestions, making clear your message refers to this website.

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