The government has confirmed that the way landlords (or where formally agreed, their agent) conduct Right to Rent Checks will change from 6 April 2022, with further changes planned from 1 October 2022.
What has changed?
Under existing rules, landlords can confirm certain foreign nationals’ permission to rent a residential property by either conducting a physical check of the below documents or via the UKVI’s online system:
— Biometric Residence Card (BRC)
— Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)
— Frontier Worker Permit
However, from 6 April 2022 it will no longer be possible to rely on a physical check of the above documents. The check must be conducted using the online system to obtain a valid Statutory Excuse against a Civil Penalty (up to £3000 per tenant).
In other developments, the Covid concession allowing remote “adjusted” checks has been extended until 30 September 2022 for certain individuals. As a reminder, this concession allows employers to undertake checks remotely via video call where the individual provides a scanned copy of their document.
What does this mean in practice?
The changes are summarised below:
Individuals with biometric status documents – Remote “adjusted” checks remain in place until 5 April 2022. From 6 April 2022 only online checks using a share code will meet the rules. This check must be conducted face to face (either in person or via video call)
British & Irish nationals – remote “adjusted” checks continue until 30 September 2022. From 1 October 2022, landlords/agents must either see the original document or conduct the check via a certified Identification Document Validation Technology (IDVT). Landlords/agents may choose to use certified IDVTs from 6 April 2022 onwards.
Landlords and letting agents should ensure that they are familiar with the changes and update their processes and communications accordingly.
These changes may result in a significant departure from previous practices, so it is recommended that training is given to those individuals responsible for conducting checks to ensure that they are familiar with the changes and understand what actions they need to take to ensure compliance with the requirements.
Where responsibility for completing the check (and the associated liability for a Civil Penalty) is passed to the agent, it is possible that the new rules may trigger changes to any agreements currently in place between the agency and landlord. Both parties should therefore ensure they are aware of where any liability lies for future checks and confirm this is properly documented.