Right to Rent: New extension to emergency measures
Temporary changes to Right to Rent checks, introduced to minimise face-to-face contact, will remain in place until April 2022, the Government has announced.
Adjusted checks were introduced in March last year in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and were originally due to end on 20th June this year.
This was then extended until 31 August, to give landlords more time to adjust. The NRLA had written to the Home Office on the issue.
However, the Government has now confirmed that the adjusted right to rent checks will continue until 5 April 2022.
The reason for the latest extension is due to positive feedback about the ability to conduct checks remotely. It is intended that a new digital solution is introduced for those unable to use the Home Office online checking service, including UK and Irish citizens. The NRLA will update members with more information about this as soon as this is available.
The adjusted checks have been extended to support landlords and letting agents to ‘implement long-term, post-pandemic working practices’.
What happens now?
Since 30th March last year, the Government allowed Right to Rent checks to be performed by:
- Asking any prospective adult occupier to submit a scanned copy or a photo of one or two of their original documents from lists A or B via email or using a mobile app.
- Arranging a video call with the prospective occupier and asking them to hold up the document on screen to check against the copy you were sent.
- Recording the date the check was made and marking a copy of the scanned document with the phrase “an adjusted check has been undertaken on [insert date] due to COVID-19” satisfied the tenant has a right to rent.
Landlords can now continue to carry out checks in this way until 5 April 2022.
What happens after 5 April 2022?
The need to physically check documents will apply from 6th April 2022. From this date, landlords must conduct Right to Rent checks in accordance with the landlords’ guide to Right to Rent checks.
This means landlords will have to perform right to rent checks in person if they cannot use the new online digital checker service. Checks using this service do not require you to check physical documents and can be carried out by video, as right to rent information is provided in real time direct from Home Office systems.
Are follow-up checks required?
There is no requirement to carry out an in-person follow-up check on those who had a COVID-19 adjusted check between 30 March 2020 and 5 April 2022 (inclusive).
While retrospective checks were part of the Government’s original plans, they have been abandoned due to the length of time emergency restrictions were in place.
Where can I learn more?
We have updated our Right to Rent guidance covering everything landlords need to know. The guidance also includes information about changes to right to rent checks for EU Nationals, which were introduced on 1 July.