How to Carry out Right to Rent Checks During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Temporary adjustments

The government has published guidance on how to perform right to rent checks during the current pandemic outbreak. The rules governing these checks have been temporarily adjusted to help landlords stay safe. The new temporary changes come into force as of 30th March 2020.

The adjustments are as follows:

  • checks can now be carried out over video calls
  • tenants can send scanned documents or a photo of documents for checks using email or a mobile app, rather than sending originals
  • landlords should use the Landlord’s Checking Service if a prospective or existing tenant cannot provide any of the existing documents

What’s important, checks are still necessary and landlords must follow code of practice on illegal immigrants and private rented accommodation and right to rent immigration checks: landlords’ code of practice. It is landlords’ responsibility to carry out the checks and it is still an offence to rent to a person who resides in the UK unlawfully.

Carrying out a right to rent check during COVID-19

  1. Ask the tenant to submit a scanned copy or a photo of their original documents via email or using a mobile app.
  2. Arrange a video call with the tenant – ask them to hold up the original documents to the camera and check them against the digital copy of the documents.
  3. Record the date you made the check and mark it as “an adjusted check has been undertaken on [insert date] due to COVID-19”.

Landlords whose tenants cannot provide documents form the prescribed list must contact the Landlord’s Checking Service.

The government will announce when the temporary measures end. After the announcement, right to rent checks will be governed by the rules from before 30th March 2020.

If you require help with your rental property, please contact us.

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