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Changes to Right to Rent

Posted 17/11/2020 by Reeds Rains
Categories: Landlords
Two pieces of a jigsaw being pushed together

On 2nd November, updated legislation for the Right to Rent scheme in England came into force: The Immigration (Residential Accommodation) (Prescribed Requirements and Codes of Practice) (Amendments) Order 2020. While the overall obligation for landlords to carry out checks on all tenants has not changed, there are new processes for nationals of certain countries and, significantly, a new online service is being provided via the Home Office.

These changes have been introduced to improve the operation of the scheme for landlords and tenants and simplify the process around documentation.

If we are managing your let for you, we will deal with right to rent checks and make sure they are up to date.

  • The document list for non-visa national visitors from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the USA who enter the UK using an ePassport gate has been amended so that they only need to provide:
  • a valid passport, and
  • a paper or electronic document (such as a boarding pass) showing entry into the UK within the last six months.
  • New documents issued to third-country-national family members granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme can now be accepted as evidence of a right to rent
  • Both short and long versions of UK birth and adoption certificates are now acceptable, making it easier for British citizens who don’t have a passport to demonstrate their right to rent.

Note: EEA citizens. Although the Brexit transition period comes to an end on 1st January 2021, EEA citizens will continue to be able to demonstrate their right to rent until 30th June 2021 simply with a valid passport or national ID card.

The process for when checks can be done has also been revised:

  • Those with an unlimited right to rent can now be checked at any time prior to the tenancy
  • Those with a time limited right to rent must be checked in the 28 days before occupation.

How does the new online service work?

This is a real-time check that can be made on:

  • non-EEA citizens who have a valid biometric resident permit or card
  • EEA citizens who have status granted under the EU Settlement Scheme
  • those whose leave will be granted under the new points-based system.

The prospective or existing tenant simply needs to view their own Home Office profile and can then provide the landlord with a ‘share code’ that allows them to access the record. Only right to rent information can be seen by the landlord – the tenant’s other unrelated personal information is kept private.

In a statement, Chris Philip MP said: “The online service makes it simpler for landlords to carry out the checks and protects them. It allows checks to be carried out by video call, and landlords will not need to see documents as the right to rent information is provided in real time directly from Home Office systems.”

It will not be mandatory for landlords to use this service, so you can continue to make checks on tenants in the existing document-based way for the time being.

Making checks during the coronavirus pandemic

Right to Rent checks have been temporarily adjusted by the Government to enable landlords to carry them out differently:

  • Rather than being in person, checks can be carried out over video calls
  • Scanned or photographed documents can be sent by the tenant – the landlord is not required to see the original.

If the tenant has any difficulty providing certain documents, landlords should use the online Landlord’s Checking Service.

If you would like to discuss the Right to Rent checks with a local lettings expert you can find the contact details for your branch here 

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