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Temporary changes to the Right to Rent rules made in March 2020, will remain in place until 16 May 2021, the Home Office has announced.
However, in the interim checks of prescribed documents set out in Landlords Guide to Right to Rent must still be made or use made of the online Right to rent checking service. It remains an offence to knowingly rent to a person who does not have the right to rent in the UK.
Continuation of the temporary changes, brought in as part of the Government’s response to the Covid Crisis, means checks can for the time being to be carried out digitally.
And landlords should still use the checking service if a prospective or existing tenant cannot provide any of the accepted documents.
Besides asking tenants to provide scanned copies or photos of original documents, landlords must arrange video calls with tenants. During these calls they must ask tenants to hold up the originals of the documents submitted, and must check them against the digital copy of the documents
A record of the date of the video call must be made and documents marked as ‘adjusted check undertaken on xxxxxxxx due to COVID-19’.
The temporary adjustments to right to rent checks are due to end on 16 May 2021.
From then on landlords must either check the original documents of tenants needing to prove their right to rent, or use the Government’s online right to rent checking service using the tenant’s share code.
However the Home Office has dropped its idea of requiring retrospective right to rent checks to verify those conducted under the temporary changes.
ARLA Propertymark has claimed credit for the change, saying it wrote to the immigration minister last year, liaised with Home Office officials and provided information to MPs highlighting concerns with the practicality of such checks.
‘We are very pleased that the Home Office has listened to our concerns about the practical barriers that would have made it impossible for letting agents in England to repeat the volume of adjusted checks carried out over the last year due to the pandemic’, said Timothy Douglas, policy and campaigns manager of the letting agents’ body.