Landlords in England checking new tenants under Right to Rent rules face changes to the regime today including revised lists of accepted documents from today onwards.

The government has also initiated its digital identity-checking service scheme, which enables commercial providers to verify a UK or Irish tenant’s identity documents digitally, for a fee.

This new system will run in parallel with the ‘adjusted checks’ video-call based verification system that the government introduced during Covid and the government’s existing online checking service.

Adjusted checks will run until the end of September.

As before, these adjusted checks allow scanned document sent digitally to be accepted, or verification via video call either using the Home Office’s online checking service video facility (for tenants with a Biometric Residence Permit or Biometric Residence Card or who has been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme or the points-based immigration system) or other types of video calls such as Zoom, Whatsapp or Teams for other kinds of tenants.

After 30th September when the adjusted checks ends, landlords will have three choices. These are:

  • Do a manual check, face to face of the tenant’s identity of Right to Rent documents.
  • Use Identity Document Validation Technology (IDVT) via the services of an Identity Service Provider (IDSP) such as Yoti/Post Office to check the identity of a British or Irish citizen.
  • Use the Home Office online Right to Rent checking service.

On the ground, most local landlords who deal with their own properties will complete manual checks of British or Irish nationals to check and make copies of their passports.

The IDVT checks are for landlords whose UK or Irish prospective tenants have not arrived in the UK to take up their tenancy or who cannot do face-to-face meetings. The Home Office’s online service is primarily for the growing number of people issued with eVisas.

rent arrears

Timothy Douglas (pictured), Head of Policy and Campaigns at Propertymark, says landlords and agents can continue to use specified hard copy documents for UK and Irish nationals or BJ5SSK nationals (nationals of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and the USA) but if IDSP is offered, they must not discriminate against applicants that would prefer to provide hard copy documents checked either online to 30 September 2022, or in person.#

Documents list

Landlords will also have to update their paperwork to reflect the shortened list of acceptable documents.

Under the new rules, hard copy forms of biometric cards and permits along with frontier workers permits (seasonal workers) will not be accepted from 6 April.

To read the full and updated Code of Practice, visit the Home Office website.

3 COMMENTS

  1. I always did a right to rent check, even for my tenants in Wales. Ironically the Welsh government are about to ‘force’ landlords to change over to ‘Occupation contracts’ replacing the standard Assured Short-hold tenancy agreements. In section 10 of the new contracts, once in the property the tenant can allow who ever they like to move into the tenanted property without any checks; the landlord ‘MUST’ permit this. I have asked the Welsh Government how we are suppose to enforce ‘Right to rent’ when the new contracts (subsection 10) state that tenants can have who they like to live at the property and that the landlord must treat them as a tenant without any checks; they can even take over the contract when the original tenant leaves, and it appears the landlord cannot prevent this! Their reply to my concern regarding illegal aliens becoming legal tenants and our/landlords inability to perform ‘right to rent’ was, “The Right to rent legislation only effects properties in England”. They added that the new welsh legislation means that the responsibility for tenanted properties being overcrowded, becoming illegal HMO’s or housing illegal aliens is the responsibility of the tenant!! I’d be happy to send you the email they sent me and the new contracts which we/Landlords will all have to use from July 2022.

  2. It seems to me that landlords are going to have to employ the services of a solicitor or qualified legal specialist in ‘Right to Rent’ legislation to conduct the checks to have a chance of ensuring they remain on the right side of the law as far as these rules (this legislation) is concerned. In which case, several hundreds of £ will have to be added to the annual rent. I for one will definitely be increasing rent to new and existing tenants to reflect this cost and increased risk to me as a landlord. Massive rent increases to follow already – this is just another inflationary increase but brought about by Governemnt forcing Landlords to be border control officers.

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