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Right to Rent checks and students with time limited ID

Friday 01 September 2017

Help is at hand for agents struggling to carry out Right to Rent checks on overseas students in joint tenancies prior to the start of the academic year.

Many students secure tenancies which begin weeks or months before they arrive to take up occupancy, meaning that agents cannot comply with the Code of Practice requirement to carry out a face-to-face check within the 28 days preceding the start of the tenancy.

ARLA Propertymark raised the issue as part of ongoing implementation work with the Home Office who have now agreed a template letter that can be used to implement an exemption in place for universities to nominate students to take up residence in a specified property in the private rented sector.

The student can activate the process by requesting the letter however the correspondence must be on the university’s letterhead and must specify the student’s name and date of birth along with the address of the property. The process is similar to arrangements made with the Home Office last year  in order to enable agents to accommodate US Air Force personnel, allowing the institution to vouch for the individual.

It is important to note that if the student changes property, the exemption letter process effectively needs to start again – as the university must specify the address of any student. In other words an exemption letter cannot be 'ported’ to another property address.

While technically this process creates an exemption, it remains best practice to carry out a face to face check on the student’s arrival and retain records according to the code, even if this check is taking place outside of the 28 days of the start of the tenancy.

Rachel Hartley, Marketing Communications Manager at ARLA Propertymark, member of the Home Office Consultative Panel on Right to Rent checks:

“This is a big step forward for agents, particularly those who have to process large numbers of students in joint tenancies over a short period of time. Right to Rent checks are one of the hidden tasks involved in setting up a tenancy. 

“In Right to Rent checks the most important thing is always to record the checks that you make accurately. Any enforcement activity will focus on the paper trail and having an accurate record of what you have done and the decisions that you have taken is essential.”

Download the template letter