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Temporary measures for Right to Rent checks

Tuesday 31 March 2020

After Propertymark’s campaign to #KeepTheRentFlowing, which included lobbying Government to suspend or amend Right to Rent checks during the COVID-19 breakout, last night, changes were made to ensure checks can continue.

The UK Government has made temporary changes to ensure that Right to Rent checks will continue in line with the Code of Practice, stressing that it remains an offence to knowingly lease premises to a person who is not lawfully in the UK.

Changes, as of 30 March 2020 are:

  • Checks can be carried out as video calls
  • Tenants can send scanned documents or a photo of documents for checks using email or a mobile app, rather than sending originals
  • Agents should use the Landlord’s Checking Service where a tenant cannot provide documents.

Quote mark

I have introduced these temporary changes to help employers and landlords conduct checks more easily as people follow advice to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives, during the coronavirus outbreak.

Once the temporary changes end, landlords and employers will be asked to carry out the full checks on existing tenants and employees who rented a property or started work during the pandemic.

The 'right to rent' scheme requires landlords to check that all tenants who occupy their properties have legal status to live in the UK. Right to work checks are a requirement on employers to make sure a job applicant is allowed to work in the UK before employing them.

Priti PatelHome Secretary

HOW TO CONDUCT A CHECK ACCORDING TO TEMPORARY MEASURES

Ask the tenant to submit a scanned copy or a photo of their original documents via email or using a mobile app.

  • Arrange a video call with the tenant – ask them to hold up the original documents to the camera and check them against the digital copy of the documents.
  • Record the date you made the check and mark it as "an adjusted check has been undertaken on [insert date] due to COVID-19".

If the tenant does not have the right documents

  • You must contact the Landlord’s Checking Service if the tenant cannot provide documents from the prescribed lists.

These measures remain in place until the point when Government announce a return to previous arrangements. After that, agents must revert to existing processes.

Within eight weeks of the temporary measures being lifted, agents will also need to carry out full retrospective checks on tenants who:

  • Started their tenancy during this period.
  • Required a follow-up check during this period.

In these cases, it is essential to keep records of both checks and if the retrospective checks reveal a tenant who should not have entered/continued a tenancy, follow the processes to end the tenancy.

Please note that because of COVID-19 some individuals may be unable to evidence their Right to Rent and therefore it is vital that agents remember the processes within the Code that are in place in order to avoid discrimination.

Temporary measures   Code of Practice