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UK Government reviewing adjusted check process

Monday 11 January 2021

Following a letter Propertymark sent to the Immigration Minister outlining concerns about adjusted Right to Rent checks, the Home Office has responded saying “we are taking this opportunity to conduct a review of the adjusted checking process.”

The issue was raised by Propertymark because the guidance rolled out by the UK Government in March 2020 in light of the COVID pandemic, states that agents can conduct adjusted checks via video call but must go back and conduct retrospective checks within eight weeks of the Home Office announcing that the temporary measures are ending.

In the response from the Home Office, it says, “As this adjusted period has remained for longer than anticipated we are taking this opportunity to conduct a review of the adjusted checking process.” The letter goes on to say, “Whilst our priority remains the security and integrity of the right to rent checks, we constantly seek to improve our process and innovate where possible. We also recognise the need to ensure the system of right to rent checks supports tenants and landlords.”

Importantly, the letter says, “We will update the adjusted checks guidance on GOV.UK in due course, allowing sufficient time for landlords to comply with any updates or changes following our review.”

The Home Office also confirmed that the Right to Rent process will not change from 1 January 2021, because the UK will enter the EU-Exit grace period until 30 June 2021. To this end, EEA citizens can continue to use their passport or national identity card to demonstrate their right to rent during this time.

However, letting agents should be aware that if they have status under the EU Settlement Scheme or the new points-based immigration system, they can choose to evidence their Right to Rent using the Home Office online service. Landlords cannot insist that EEA citizens use the online service or discriminate against those who wish to use their passport or national identity card.

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It is positive that the Home Office is taking on board the concerns of Propertymark and our members and will be reviewing the adjusted check process. Letting agents face an increasingly complex legislative landscape that has been exasperated by the pandemic. Let’s hope the Home Office sees the logic of removing the need for unnecessary, duplicate checks and support tenants, landlords, and letting agents by allowing the sector to focus on meeting other legal requirements.

Timothy Douglas

Timothy Douglas
Policy and Campaigns Manager

PROPERTMARK RESOURCES

Full details of how to conduct a Right to Rent check, arrangements for adjusted checks under COVID-19 restrictions, support available to undocumented Commonwealth Citizens referred to as Windrush, and other aspects of Right to Rent checks and the Immigration Act 2016 are outlined in the fact sheet available for members. Log in to the member area to download it.

Download Fact Sheet