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A last-minute change means the end date for the ‘temporary’ right to rent checking regime, which had been set as 31 August, has now been deferred to 5 April 2022.
Until then landlords will be permitted to conduct required immigration status checks using the online methods introduced in 2020 as a means of helping to combat the spread of the Coronavirus .
‘We have made the decision to defer the date following the positive feedback we received about the ability to conduct checks remotely’, said the Home Office, when making the announcement.
‘We initiated a review of the availability of specialist technology to support a system of digital right to rent checks in the future. The intention is to introduce a new digital solution to include many who are unable to use the Home Office online checking service, including UK and Irish citizens. This will enable checks to continue to be conducted remotely but with enhanced security.
‘Deferring the end date of the adjusted checks to 5 April 2022 ensures the Right to Rent Scheme continues to operate in a manner which supports landlords and letting agents, whilst we look to implement a long-term, post-pandemic solution’.
Meanwhile landlords must continue to check the immigration status of tenants by inspecting the prescribed documents set out in Landlords Guide to Right to Rent or by using the Home Office right to rent online service, warned the Home Office.
But the continuing regime allows these checks to be carried out via video calls, and tenants to send scanned documents or photos of documents for checks using email or a mobile app, rather than sending originals. Landlords are required to use the Home Office Landlord Checking Service should a prospective or existing tenant be unable to provide any of the accepted documents
‘It remains an offence to knowingly rent to a person who does not have the right to rent in England’.
Up to and including 5 April 2022, landlords conducting ‘temporary’ adjusted checks must:
- 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 or tenants – ask him, her or them to hold up the original documents to the camera and check them against the digital copy of the documents;
- record the date the check was made and mark it as ‘adjusted check undertaken on [insert date] due to COVID-19’; and
- if the tenant or tenants has or have a current Biometric Residence Permit or Biometric Residence Card or has or have been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme or the points-based immigration system, landlords may can use the online right to rent service during a video call – the applicant must give you permission to view their details.
The Home Office said new guidance on checks will be issued prior to 6 April 2022.