The Home Office has announced that the changes made to Right to Rent checks as a result of the Coronavirus Act 2020 have been extended to the 30 September 2022. This allows letting agents and landlords time to adjust their processes in preparation for the introduction of Identification Document Validation Technology (IDVT).
Deferring the end date of the adjusted checks to 30 September 2022 ensures landlords have sufficient time to develop commercial relationships with identity service providers, make the necessary changes to their pre-tenancy checking processes and carry out responsible on-boarding of their chosen provider.
The decision also provides opportunity for landlords to put measures in place to enable face to face document checks if they do not wish to adopt digital checks for British and Irish citizens with a valid passport (or Irish passport card).
The following temporary changes were made on 30 March 2020 and remain in place until 30 September 2022 (inclusive):
checks can currently be carried out over video call
tenants can send scanned documents or a photo of documents for checks using email or a mobile app, rather than sending original
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.
It remains an offence to knowingly rent to a person who does not have the right to rent in England. Checking an individual’s right to rent during the temporary COVID-19 measures
Up to and including 30 September 2022, if you are carrying out a temporary adjusted check, you must:
ask the tenant to submit a scanned copy or a photo of their original documents via email or using a mobile app
arrange a video call with the tenant – ask them to hold up the original documents to the camera and check them against the digital copy of the documents
record the date you made the check and mark it as “adjusted check undertaken on [insert date] due to COVID-19”
if the tenant has a current Biometric Residence Permit or Biometric Residence Card or has been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme or the points-based immigration system you can use the online right to rent service while doing a video call – the applicant must give you permission to view their details. From 6 April 2022, all biometric card holders will evidence their right to rent using the Home Office online service only. You will no longer be able to accept physical cards for the purposes of a right to rent check even if it shows a later expiry date.
The Home Office right to rent online service gives you a defence against a civil penalty. You don’t need to see or check the individual’s documents, as right to rent information is provided in real time directly from Home Office systems.
Landlords cannot insist individuals use this service or discriminate against those who choose to use their documents to prove their right to rent.
You do not need to carry out retrospective checks on those who had an adjusted check between 30 March 2020 and 30 September 2022 (inclusive). This reflects the length of time the adjusted checks have been in place and supports landlords during this difficult time.
You will maintain a defence against a civil penalty if the check you have undertaken during this period was done in the prescribed manner or as set out in the COVID-19 adjusted checks guidance.
It remains an offence to knowingly rent to a person who does not have the right to rent in England.
If a tenant does not have the right documents
You must contact the Home Office Landlord Checking Service if the tenant cannot provide the right documents. Once you have submitted your request to the Landlord Checking Service you will get an answer within 2 working days. You must keep this response to protect against a civil penalty.