Virtual right to rent: government issues new guidance

Toby Weiss

Toby Weiss

Corporate Marketing Manager at Reapit

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Virtual right to rent extension-min

The government has updated advice for landlords carrying out right to rent checks during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, deferring the end date for the temporary adjusted checks to 5 April 2022.

Previous guidance issued on 18 June 2021 originally stated that virtual right to rent checks would become inadmissible from 31 August 2021. The decision to extend the temporary checks was made following positive feedback that the government received about the ability to conduct checks remotely. 

Updated advice for landlords carrying out right to rent checks during the temporary COVID-19 measures

The following temporary changes were made on 30 March 2020 and remain in place until 5 April 2022 (inclusive):

  • checks can currently 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 Home Office Landlord Checking Service if a prospective or existing tenant cannot provide any of the accepted documents

Checks continue to be necessary and you must continue to check the prescribed documents set out in Landlords Guide to Right to Rent or use the Home Office right to rent online service.

It remains an offence to knowingly rent to a person who does not have the right to rent in England.

Checking an individual’s right to rent during the temporary COVID-19 measures

Up to and including 5 April 2022, if you are carrying out a temporary adjusted check, you must:

  • ask the tenant to submit a scanned copy or a photo of their original documents via email or using a mobile app
  • 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
  • record the date you made the check and mark it as “adjusted check undertaken on [insert date] due to COVID-19”
  • if the tenant has a current Biometric Residence Permit or Biometric Residence Card or has been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme or the points-based immigration system you can use the online right to rent service while doing a video call – the applicant must give you permission to view their details

Resources

Guidance: Coronavirus (COVID-19): landlord right to rent checks

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