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Ending a tenancy due to immigration status

This information only applies in England.

If your tenant or lodger doesn't have the right to rent, you must take reasonable steps to remove the tenant or lodger from the rented property or take reasonable steps to evict them. Failure to do so can result in heavy fines and a prison sentence.

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A right to rent means that a tenant or lodger is legally allowed to rent private accommodation in England. This might be a permanent right to rent or a time-limited right to rent (eg for those on work or study visas). For further information, read Right to rent.

If you know or believe that someone in your rented property doesn't have the right to rent because of their immigration status (ie if they are 'disqualified from renting'), then you will have to follow certain steps to end the tenancy.

As a landlord or letting agent you have the following options to end the tenancy:

  • If multiple people live in the property where some may be disqualified from renting and some may have the right to rent, you can mutually agree with the disqualified person(s) that they will leave the property. This is the easiest route to ending a tenancy, but the tenants should put their agreement in writing.
  • Arrange the surrender of the tenancy by mutual agreement (ie both the landlord and the tenant agree to end the tenancy early).
  • Rely on a Notice of Letting to a Disqualified Person to begin the eviction process. The process changes depending on whether the notice names all the occupiers or only some of them.
  • Evict the tenant by using the Section 21 or Section 8 eviction procedures.

As long as the landlord can show that they are actively pursuing one of these steps to end the tenancy, they will be considered to have taken reasonable steps and have fulfilled their legal obligations. For further information, read the government's guidance on taking reasonable steps.

The Home Office may send a Notice of Letting to a Disqualified Person to notify the landlord that a person in the property doesn't have the right to rent. This notice is extremely important and should be kept safe for future evidence.

When the landlord receives this notice, they must take reasonable steps to evict the disqualified person. This notice gives the landlord immigration grounds for evicting a tenant and in some circumstances, may allow a landlord to evict the tenant without a court order.

If the Notice of Letting to a Disqualified Person names all the occupiers

If the notice contains all the names of the persons living at the property (or names only the sole occupier) then you should either:

If the disqualified persons don't leave by that time, you can apply to court and ask for High Court enforcement officers to evict the tenant(s). You can also exclude the disqualified persons from the property peacefully after the notice period in the Section 33D(3) notice has expired by, for example, changing the locks.

If the Notice of Letting to a Disqualified Person names some (but not all) of the occupiers

If the notice only names some occupiers as disqualified persons, you can:

If the relevant occupiers refuse to leave you will have to follow the eviction process set out below. This will leave the tenancy with the qualified persons unchanged.

To evict only some occupants of your property you can use a section 8 notice and rely on Ground 7B. The notice period for this notice is 14 days' and this notice can be used whether or not the fixed term of the tenancy has expired. Ground 7B can only be used in England. Ask a lawyer for assistance evicting a tenant.

Alternatively, if the fixed term of the tenancy has come to an end, you can serve a Section 21 (Form 6A) notice for England. Make sure you give the appropriate amount of notice. After this notice period has expired, you can proceed with the court process as normal. For further information, read Repossessing property - Section 21 notice.

If you haven't received a notice from the Home Office about a disqualified person, but you know or have reasonable belief that an occupier doesn't have the right to rent, then you can request a notice from the Home Office. The Home Office will then check whether the named person is a disqualified person and provide you with details. Once you have the notice then you can rely on the procedure outlined above.

Once they've left the property, the landlord must report it to the Home Office. This can be done online through the government website.

For further advice, landlords and tenants can Ask a lawyer, or seek advice from their local Citizens Advice Bureau or Shelter.

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