Remote ID checks to stand, in Right to Rent pandemic U-turn 12 May 2021
The Covid-19 pandemic has forced lots of changes for landlords when it comes to lettings legislation, and it can be a challenge to keep up-to-date. There’s been a small win for landlords and letting agents though, as Right to Rent checks conducted remotely during lockdown, do no have to be reverified in person as restrictions continue to ease.
What is Right to Rent?
Right to Rent is a scheme that puts the onus on checking that tenants occupying any of their properties have the legal right to live and work in the UK. In England, before renting a home, landlords or letting agents acting on their behalf, have to carry out checks before rental agreements can be signed, and keys can be handed over.
Changes to Right to Rent during lockdown
As a way to keep face-to-face contact to an absolute minimum, the government encouraged these checks to be conducted online, with potential tenants having their ID documents verified over video instead of in person. To begin with, the Home Office guidance was that the process of checking documents would need to be repeated once it was safe to do so, for anyone who had their Right to Rent checks completed online.
The property industry raised concerns, with both landlords and letting agents united in the view that this could create an impossible amount of work, confuse tenants who might not understand why they were now being subject to extra checks, logistical difficulties for landlords to reach their tenants, and the inevitable increase in visits to the premises of letting agents – raising the risk for both staff and clients alike.
Statement from the Home Office
Recognising these difficulties, an updated statement declares that these checks to retrospectively verify a tenant’s right to rent are no longer required, which “reflects the length of time the adjusted checks have been in place and supports landlords during this difficult time.”