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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.

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 comes into force on November 2.

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

Windrush review published

The government published the report of the independent inquiry by Wendy Williams into the Windrush scandal. The inquiry is very critical of the right to rent, and includes a lengthy assessment of how it developed, including the warnings issued by the CIH in its early stages. There is more about the Windrush scandal in the quarterly newsletters.

On June 23, the Home Secretary announced that she would act on all 30 recommendations from the Windrush review.

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.

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.

A Lifeline For All - how 'no recourse' affects children

A report from the Children's Society highlights how ‘no recourse to public funds’ and strict immigration policies are leaving thousands of children in long-term poverty, trapped homelessness, destitution and mounting debt and segregated from their communities and peers.

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 with any suggestions, making clear your message refers to this website.

Chartered Institute of Housing

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Chartered Institute of Housing