The government is set to publish advice about how landlords will need to conduct Right to Rent checks after 5th April.
From that date, 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 reassured 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 Right to Rent 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.
The most up-to-date government guide – Right to Rent Checks: A user guide for tenants and landlords – was published in September.