The government have said that ‘Right to Rent’ checks will continue to be necessary in line with the Code of Practice and it remains an offence to knowingly lease premises to a person who is not lawfully in the UK.

You may not be arranging many or any new move ins at the moment but remember that follow up checks have to be carried out on any existing tenants where the original Right to Rent was time limited.

With the government issuing instructions to keep your distance and stay at home you may be wondering how this is possible! Well, new temporary measures have been introduced to make it easier for landlords & agents to carry out the required checks.

As of 30th March 2020 the following temporary changes have been made:

  • 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.

Some individuals will be unable to provide evidence of their right to rent because of COVID-19 and therefore during this period you must take extra care to ensure that no-one is discriminated against because of this. For more information click here.

HOW TO CONDUCT A RIGHT TO RENT CHECK DURING THE TEMPORARY COVID-19 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.

Once you have submitted your request to the service, please do not try to contact them again. You will get an answer within 2 working days. You must keep their response to protect against a civil penalty.

After the COVID-19 measures end

The government will announce in advance when these measures will end, at which time there will be a return to the previous checking process. Retrospective checks will need to be carried out within 8 weeks according to the current guidance. To read more visit gov.uk