Adjusted Right to Rent checks to continue to 31 August

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.

British passport

The return of in-person Right to Rent checks has been delayed in line with wider Government safety guidance around limiting the spread of Covid-19 infection. Propertymark has been in contact with the Home Office this week on this point, following the Prime Minister's announcement on continued restrictions.

Agents should however note that the supporting information looks to bridge the return to in-person Right to Rent checks: "Landlords should ensure the security and integrity of their right to rent checks. You may wish to consider if there are opportunities to safely carry out standard right to rent checks as set out in the right to rent code of practice and the landlord’s guide in advance of the temporary measures coming to an end. Particularly where a tenancy agreement does not start until on or after the 1 September 2021."

Lobbying in practice

As announced earlier in the year, the Home Office has dropped plans for all adjusted checks carried out since 20 March 2020, to be repeated with full in-person checks. Propertymark put the case that the volume of checks accrued in that period was prohibitive to completing the task and tenants would not understand the need to comply.

From 1 September 2021, all agents managing properties in England will need to revert to in-person Right to Rent Checks in accord with the Code of Practice. The exception to this will be applicants with a Home Office status who offer a digital share code.

Withdrawal Act changes

This latest development is separate to changes to Right to Rent checks which will come into force on 1 July as a result of the EU Withdrawal Act 2020. Today, 18 June, the Home Office has published new guidance outlining the steps that letting agents will take to conduct Right to Rent checks from 1 July 2021. 

Right to Rent Scheme COVID-19 Adjusted Checks Update  →

A further extension of adjusted checks allowing agents to conduct them by video call is a sensible response at the moment however this falls at the same time that we are moving to new arrangements post Brexit from 1 July.

Agents need to be clear about what this means: adjusted checks can continue where you would previously have done an in-person check but the criteria for the changes on 1 July 2021 to focus on immigration status rather than nationality.  

A lack of EU, EEA or Swiss citizens taking on new tenancies during the pandemic may have reduced the focus on arrangements for overseas nationals but in order to avoid civil penalties, it is vital that agents are up to speed as we move to the next period of Right to Rent.

Timothy Douglas
Timothy Douglas Policy and Campaigns Manager | Propertymark
View the Landlord’s Guide to Right to Rent Checks