In a move to improve the operation of the Right to Rent scheme for both landlords and tenants, the legislation has been updated and The Immigration (Residential Accommodation) (Prescribed Requirements and Codes of Practice) (Amendments) Order 2020 came into force on 2nd November.
Although nothing has changed regarding your basic obligation to carry out checks on all tenants to confirm that they have the legal right to live in the UK, the process around documentation has been simplified.
1. New processes for nationals of certain countries
- The document list for non-visa national visitors from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the USA who enter the UK using an ePassport gate has been amended. Now they only need to provide:
- a valid passport, and
- a paper or electronic document (such as a boarding pass) showing entry into the UK within the last six months
- New documents issued to third-country-national family members granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme can now be accepted as evidence of a Right to Rent
- UK birth and adoption certificates are now acceptable as proof of nationality (both short and long versions), making it easier for British citizens without a passport to demonstrate their Right to Rent
Note: EEA citizens. Although the Brexit transition period comes to an end on 1st January 2021, EEA citizens can continue to be able to prove their Right to Rent with a valid passport or national ID card until 30th June 2021.
The process for when checks can be done has also been revised:
Those with an unlimited Right to Rent can now be checked at any time prior to the tenancy
- Those with a time limited Right to Rent must be checked in the 28 days before occupation
2. New online service being provided via the Home Office
This is a real-time check that can be made on:
- Non-EEA citizens who have a valid biometric resident permit or card
- EEA citizens who have status granted under the EU Settlement Scheme
- Those whose leave will be granted under the new points-based system
The prospective or existing tenant simply needs to view their own Home Office profile online. They can then provide the landlord with a ‘share code’ that allows them to access the record. The landlord can only see relevant Right to Rent information – the tenant’s other unrelated personal information is kept private.
Chris Philip MP said: “The online service makes it simpler for landlords to carry out the checks and protects them. It allows checks to be carried out by video call, and landlords will not need to see documents as the Right to Rent information is provided in real time directly from Home Office systems.”
Until more immigrants and landlords take up the service, it will be voluntary. So, for the time being, you can continue to make checks on tenants in the existing document-based way.
Making checks during the coronavirus pandemic
Right to Rent checks have been temporarily amended by the Government:
Rather than being in person, checks can be carried out over video calls
- Scanned or photographed documents can be sent by the tenant – the landlord is not required to see the original
If the tenant has any difficulty providing certain documents, you can use the online Landlord’s Checking Service.
If you have any questions you can find the contact details for your local branch here.