The Home Office has announced that the existing system which landlords and letting agents use to check the right to rent status of their tenants will be changing. From 6th April 2022 the system will be going digital and tenants will no longer need to prove their right to rent using actual physical documents in person.
The right to rent scheme was introduced to tackle and deter illegal immigration. It is intended to prevent individuals without lawful immigration status in the UK from accessing accommodation in the private rented sector; and to support efforts to tackle those who exploit vulnerable migrants, often housing them in very poor conditions.
Since 2015 landlords and letting agents have been required to establish that prospective tenants can legally rent their property, before entering a tenancy agreement. This involves the physical checking of relevant documents such as passports or biometric residence permits. These would be compared to the tenant in person. Should it be found at a later stage that the tenant was not allowed to rent in the UK then provided the correct checks have been carried out the landlords or agent would be able to establish a statutory defence and avoid a civil penalty.
- The immigration system is digitising and moving away from a system reliant on people proving their rights through physical documents that are sometimes decades old, to a streamlined system that is digital by default.
- Landlords and letting agents will be able to use the right to rent online checking service on GOV.UK to view the immigration status of existing and prospective tenants. The service is simple, secure, free to use and enables checks to be carried out by video call.
- From 6 April 2022, the right to rent online checking service must be used for biometric residence card and permit (BRC/P) holders, as they will no longer be able to use their BRC/P for a manual right to rent check, even if it shows a later expiry date.
- Also from 6 April 2022, landlords will be able to use certified Identification Document Validation Technology (IDVT) service providers to carry out digital checks on behalf of British and Irish Citizens who hold a valid passport (or Irish passport card).
- It is important to note that landlords must not discriminate when conducting these checks. The Government has produced a useful guide for landlords which can be downloaded here Right to rent checks from July 2021: information for landlords - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- There is also a Code of Practice for landlords when carrying out right to rent checks, which can be found here Right to rent immigration checks: landlords' code of practice - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Need any further information?
Contact the team at CB ESTATES and we will be happy to answer any questions that you may have regarding right to rent checks and how they are carried out. At CB ESTATES we carry out right to rent checks on every tenant over 18 as part of our comprehensive referencing and ID checking procedures before we offer any new tenancies. Call Katherine on 01752 917458 for more information