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
Since 1 February 2016, all landlords or agents of private rental accommodation in England have been required to carry out Right to Rent checks for new tenancy agreements to determine whether occupiers aged 18 and over have the right to live in the UK legally.
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.
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.
Letting agents will need to make either digital checks using the Home Office online checking service or hard copy checks using a newly updated acceptable documents list as from 1 July, the focus of Right to Rent checks in England changes in line with the UK's Points Based Immigration System.
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.
The Home Office has announced that it will no longer require letting agents in England to carry out retrospective Right to Rent checks on tenants who had a COVID-19 adjusted check between 30 March 2020 and 16 May 2021.