Right to Rent Scheme COVID-19 Adjusted Checks Update: Following the UK Government announcement on 14 June 2021 to delay lifting the remaining lockdown restrictions until 19 July 2021, the resumption of physical document checks by landlords and letting agents has been pushed back to 1 September 2021.
From 1 September 2021, landlords and letting agents must check the prescribed documents as set out in the right to rent code of practice and the landlord’s guide, published on GOV.UK at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/landlords-immigration-right-to-rent-checks.
This means that when carrying out a document check they must be in possession of the original documents. They can no longer accept a scanned copy or a photo of original documents, as this will not provide with a defence against a civil penalty.
Alternatively, where applicable, they can use the Home Office online right to rent service via https://www.gov.uk/view-right-to-rent, which does not require to see or check the individual’s physical documents. They can carry out a check via video call using this service as right to rent information is provided in real time direct from Home Office systems – the tenant must give the landlord or agent permission to view their details in the form of a share code.
There is no requirement to carry out retrospective checks on those who had a COVID-19 adjusted check between 30 March 2020 and 31 August 2021 (inclusive). This reflects the length of time the adjusted checks have been in place and supports business during this difficult time.
Landlords and letting agents will maintain a defence against a civil penalty if the check they have undertaken during this period was done in the prescribed standard manner or as set out in the COVID-19 adjusted checks guidance. However, any individual identified with no lawful immigration status in the UK may be liable to enforcement action.
Further information can be found on GOV.UK: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/