As of 30 March 2020 and until further notice, arrangements for checks have been amended to allow checks to be made via video call. It remains essential to carry out and document checks in line with the Code of practice on illegal immigrants and private rented accommodation. Read the Government's guidance.
During COVID-19 related restrictions, applicants may have greater than normal difficulty providing documents, in this case please follow the Code of Practice and use the Landlord Checking Service. Following the lifting of temporary arrangements, those covered by checks made under temporary arrangements will need to be re-checked within eight weeks.
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Right to Rent checks in 2021
Between 1 Jan and 30 Jun 2021 EU Nationals already resident in the UK, can continue to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. During this period, applicants within the Right to Rent jurisdiction of England, must fulfil the requirements of the check and agents should fix a date for a follow up check.
While it looks likely there will be changes regarding the eligibility to rent based on nationality, it’s important to remember that any future changes cannot be backdated. Where an applicant meets the eligibility criteria, they must not be subject to discrimination.
We have written to the Home Office to warn that large numbers of tenants will not take part in duplicate checks. We remain part of the Home Office’s Landlord Consultative Panel intending to ensure that certainty for tenants, landlords and agents is achieved as soon as possible in the lead up to Brexit.
We continue to remind the Home Office that agents will not be able to determine which of their existing tenants are EU or Swiss nationals.
High Court review
In March 2019, the High Court delivered a verdict in a case brought to them by parties including the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) and the Residential Landlords Association (RLA). Judges ruled that the scheme is leading to discrimination and further evaluation must be carried out before the scheme is rolled out to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
In February 2017, ARLA Propertymark board members attended Home Office meetings to represent the concerns of members in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland along with flagging the issues that have been prominent during the early phases of the scheme.
Helping members to comply
New agent and landlord offences contained within the Immigration Act 2016 came into effect in England on 1 December 2016. The aim of the Act is to tackle illegal immigration by making it harder to live and work illegally in the UK.
Under Section 22 of the Immigration Act 2014, a landlord must not authorise an adult to occupy property as their only or main home under a residential tenancy agreement unless the adult is a British citizen, or European Economic Area (EEA) or Swiss national, or has a Right to Rent in the UK.
Propertymark has written to the Home Office to warn that agents will not be able to comply with current expectations to repeat Right to Rent checks completed during the lockdown period, when COVID restrictions are lifted.
The Home Office has further extended the period in which letting agents and landlords managing properties in England can carry out Right to Rent checks by video call, to the end of August.
The Home Office has released a draft revised Right to Rent Code of Practice in readiness for changes to checks in England. In broad terms, from 1 July agents will move from checking nationality to checking the UK immigration status of all adult applicants.
The Home Office has extended the period in which letting agents in England can carry out Right to Rent checks by video call by a further month to 20 June 2021.
New regulations being implemented on 25 November 2020 will allow non-UK nationals in England to evidence their status for Right to Rent through a digital Home Office check and reduce letting agent workloads.
The verdict on the Appeal against the ruling in the Judicial Review brought by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants and the Residential Landlords Association was published today, 21 April, rejecting claims that the scheme is solely responsible for discrimination in selecting potential tenants for private sector rented property.