The government is set to publish advice about how landlords will need to conduct Right to Rent checks for some tenants after 5 April 2022.
The following temporary changes were made on 30 March 2020 and remain in place until 5 April 2022 (inclusive):
- checks can currently be carried out over video calls
- tenants can send scanned documents or a photo of documents for checks using email or a mobile app, rather than sending originals
- landlords should use the Home Office Landlord Checking Service if a prospective or existing tenant cannot provide any of the accepted documents.
- Checks continue to be necessary and you must continue to check the prescribed documents set out in Landlords Guide to Right to Rent or use the Home Office right to rent online service.
From the 5 April 2022, Biometric Residence Card (BRC), Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) and Frontier Worker Permit (FWP) holders will only be able to evidence their Right to Rent using the Home Office online service – a physical document will no longer be accepted as valid proof.
Currently, tenants can choose whether to provide hard copy documents or a digital share code, but this will change for these specific groups in April.
The government has already told landlords and letting agents that they won’t need to retrospectively check the status of these renters who entered into a tenancy agreement up to and including 5th April.
Landlords will have a statutory excuse against any civil penalty if the initial checks were done in line with the guidance that applied at the time the check was made.
Since 2015, landlords have been required to check that all prospective tenants have lawful immigration status in the UK before entering a residential tenancy in England, to avoid a fine.
This new rule aims to reduce the work involved and to minimise the scope for human error or criminal abuse of the system.
To carry out an online check landlords need the applicant’s date of birth and their share code, which they will have obtained online, or they can arrange for an agent to carry out checks on their behalf if they have an existing written agreement.