The Government has published new guidance for landlords on conducting Right to Rent checks during the coronavirus pandemic.
The guidance makes a number of significant, temporary changes to the right to rent regime, effective immediately.
In England, landlords are normally required to carry out Right to Rent checks of prospective tenants. This requires a landlord to meet all adult occupiers in person before the tenancy is signed, and check they have one, or potentially two valid documents to show they have a right to rent in England.
Under the new temporary measures announced this week, landlords can instead:
- Ask the tenant to submit a scanned copy or a photo of their original documents electronically.
- Video call the tenant and ask them to hold up the original documents while the landlord checks them against the digital copy sent to them.
- Record the date the check was made and mark it as “an adjusted check has been undertaken on [date] due to COVID-19”
The guidance states that Right to Rent checks continue to be necessary, and it is an offence to knowingly let property to anyone who does not have legal immigration status in the UK.
Landlords should use the Landlord’s Checking Service if a prospective or existing tenant cannot provide any of the existing documents.
The government guidance also states that ones the coronavirus pandemic is over, landlords who have conducted Right to Rent checks in this way should arrange with the tenant to perform a follow up check, to ensure compliance.