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.
Right to Rent changes from 1 July 2021
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
Under the Immigration Act 2014, since 1 February 2016, all landlords of private rented accommodation in England have been required to carry out Right to Rent checks for new tenancy agreements to determine whether all adult occupiers aged 18 and over have the right to live in the UK.
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.
Coming into force on 22 January 2024 to coincide with higher maximum fines for non-compliance under the Immigration Act 2014 (Residential Accommodation) (Maximum Penalty) Order 2023, the revised code of practice is the sixth update and will replace the previous version from March 2022.
Due to take effect at the start of 2024, the higher fines represent what the Home Office describes as the biggest shake up of civil penalties since the checks were first introduced and will include charges of up to £20,000 for repeat breaches.
A report on the impact of phase two of the Right to Rent scheme has been published, which assessed that it leads to unlawful discrimination on the basis of ethnicity or nationality.
Lettings agencies are facing significant cost increases to remain compliant with Right to Rent checks, as the system allowing Adjusted checks (using Zoom calls and copies of documents for example), ends in England on 30 September 2022.
The Lettings Industry Council (TLIC) has published a report making practical and workable recommendations based on the expected changes to be introduced in the Renters' Reform Bill.
The Queen’s Speech on 10 May 2022, saw the UK Government announce that it would bring forward legislation to reform the private rented sector in England.