Extension to Emergency Right to Rent Measures Until 31st August 2021
The emergency right to rent measures imposed in March 2020 to minimise contact between landlords or letting agents and tenants will now run until the end of August 2021. Every tenant must be checked for their right to rent property in the UK before they can enter into a tenancy, and these procedures happened in person pre-pandemic. After Covid hit, they went online to adhere to social distancing guidelines.
This was due to come to an end on 20th June, but the government agreed to extend the period until 31st August to give landlords the chance to adjust back into the old method. A spokesperson said “ending the temporary adjusted checks on 31 August 2021 ensures landlords and letting agents have sufficient notice to put measures in place to enable face to face document checks.”
Regular Right to Rent Checks
Before coronavirus, the right to rent checks took this form:
The landlord or letting agent should establish the identity of all the adults who will live in the property. This includes any adults not named on the tenancy agreement. It also includes rentals where there is no written tenancy agreement or even no agreement at all.
The landlord or letting agent then requests documents that prove the tenant has a right to rent in the UK. This includes a passport, biometric immigration document or other acceptable proof.
They need to check these right to rent documents thoroughly and make sure that they belong to the tenant and are genuine. This should be with the tenant present to be able to check photographs in person and to work out whether the dates of birth are the same on all documents and are believable.
The landlord or letting agent then should make a copy of the documents and mark down the date of the check.
Landlords should understand that these checks apply to all prospective tenants, not just those that you believe are not British citizens. All tenants must be treated equally by law. In addition, these checks are important because landlords and letting agents can face unlimited fines and even prison sentences if they rent a property to someone not eligible to rent in the UK.
What Do the Emergency Right to Rent Checks Involve?
With the pandemic making face to face meetings more difficult, the government allowed this process to go online. Here’s how the emergency right to rent checks occur:
The landlord or letting agent requests each adult to forward photos or scans of the required documentation by email or through a mobile app.
The two parties have a video call in which the prospective tenant holds up their original documentation to prove that it matches the copies they sent.
The landlord or letting agent then records the date of the check, annotating the copy of the documents with “an adjusted check has been undertaken on [insert date] due to COVID-19.”
Which Right to Rent Documents Are Acceptable?
There are a number of right to rent documents you can use to prove you are eligible to stay in the country. These include:
a UK passport and biometric residence permit with unlimited leave are amongst the documents you can show on their own to prove unlimited right to rent (List A - Group 1)
you can show two documents, including any combination of a UK birth certificate, full or provisional UK driving licence and benefits paperwork (List A - Group 2)
to prove a time-limited right to rent, you can show a passport endorsed with a time-limited period, a biometric immigration document, UK immigration status document with a time-limited endorsement from the Home Office (List B)
You can find the full list of right to rent documents here. However, the status has now changed for EU and EEA citizens, meaning they are no longer treated in the same way as a UK citizen.
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