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Posted by Ellie Dreisenstock on February 22, 2022
Right to Rent checks, the divisive system requiring agents and landlords to conduct checks on tenants before they rent to them, was first introduced in 2016. Initially, these had to be completed in person. However, in March 2020, guidance changed to allow agents and landlords to carry out the checks remotely.
This meant that checks were conducted over a video call, rather than face-to-face, and with scanned documents rather than physical paperwork. These changes were initially temporary, and have had various proposed end dates however, these have all been pushed back due to the pandemic.
Despite only coming into place due to Covid restrictions, agents and landlords praised the success of the remote checks, with most agreeing that it made the process a lot easier for everyone involved.
Because of this positive feedback, in 2021, the Government extended the guidance again to April 2022 and began to look at the possibility of permanent digital Right to Rent checks.
On the 19th of January, the Home Office announced that landlords and letting agents will be able to use certified new technology to carry out Right to Rent checks digitally.
From the 6th of April, certified identity service providers (IDSP) can use Identification Document Validation Technology to conduct Right to Rent checks on behalf of British and Irish citizens.
IDSPs allow people to verify their identity remotely and prove their eligibility to work or rent, which will reduce the costs of recruitment and letting processes. They will also carry out checks on behalf of employers and landlords at scale.
This will mean that agents and landlords won’t need to spend as much time conducting the checks as they will no longer need to examine documents if they use an IDSP.
The Government has claimed that IDSPs will make it quicker, easier and more secure to carry out the checks.
Currently, if the tenant has a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), Biometric Residence Card (BRC), or has been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme or the points-based immigration system, landlords or agents can use the online right to rent service while doing a video call if they have the applicant’s permission.
However, a recent Home Office update said that from the 6th of April 2022, BRP, BRC and Frontier Worker Permit (FWP) holders must evidence their right to rent using the Home Office online service only, and presentation of a physical document will no longer be acceptable. Landlords don’t, however, need to retrospectively check the status of BRC, BRP or FWP holders who entered into a tenancy agreement up to and including the 5th of April 2022.
Despite IDSPs being available from the 6th of April, the Government has extended the deadline of temporary checks via video call and document scanning until the 30th of September.
This is so that agents and landlords have time to decide on an IDSP supplier and make any necessary changes to their processes before changing how they operate their Right to Rent checks.
So, digital Right to Rent checks are here to stay for now. Agents and landlords can carry on conducting them as they currently are until the 30th of September, but IDSPs will also be available to use from the 6th of April.