The Home Office has announced that landlords & letting agents are no longer required to carry out retrospective Right to Rent checks on tenants who were right to rent checked by digital methods between 30 March 2020 and 16 May 2021.
As a result of the first and subsequent lockdowns, letting agents and landlords have been permitted to carry out Right to Rent checks through over digital platforms such as Skype, Zoom or FaceTime - a temporary measure. However, Home Office guidance stated that lettings agents and landlords would need to go back and carry out retrospective checks within eight weeks of the Home Office announcing that restrictions were lifted. Clearly, the restrictions have been semi-lifted and then reinstated, creating a back log in retrospective face-to-face checks that would have to take place.
The announcement comes as the temporary adjustments to right to rent checks due to COVID-19 are ending.
From 17 May 2021 landlords and letting agents must either:
check the applicant’s right to rent online, if the applicant has provided their share code and date of birthDue to the impact of COVID-19 some individuals may struggle to show evidence of their right to rent in England. As a result, you must make sure a tenant is not discriminated against because they are unable to show you their documents. For more information, please see the code of practice for landlords: Avoiding unlawful discrimination when conducting ‘right to rent’ checks in the private rented residential sector.
Online Right to Rent Service
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.
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