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Landlords - what new changes are coming to Right to Rent?

As a landlord, it is vital to be up to date with the newest changes affecting your sector. Recently, there have been announcements about the government’s Right to Rent policy.

In this article, we set out to explain how these new changes to Right to Rent will affect landlords and why they’re being implemented.

What is Right to Rent?

Right to Rent is a government policy that means that before a tenancy can be agreed upon or start, the landlord must be certain that the tenant is in the UK legally and has the right to rent a property.

It is legally required for landlords to check the immigration status of prospective tenants. Right to rent checks only apply to tenancy agreements starting on or after February 2016.

The Immigration Act of 2016 added to the legislation, which made it a criminal offence to knowingly let to a person who is disqualified from renting a property.

Who has the Right to Rent?

Landlords can rent out their property to tenants, who the following criteria applies to:

Has permission to be in the UK. This includes those who are on a work or student visa

A British or EEA citizen

Has indefinite leave to remain or settled status

Has refugee status or humanitarian protection

The Home Office has granted them a time-limited right to rent

What are the changes coming to Right to Rent?

The Home Office has recently confirmed that landlords, letting agents and employers will be able to use certified new technology to digitally carry out Right to Rent checks.

The government has announced these new changes will apply from April and certified identity service providers will be able to use Identification Document Validation Technology to conduct Right to Rent checks on behalf of British and Irish citizens.

Identity service providers (IDSPs) let people verify their identity remotely and prove their eligibility to work or rent, which in turn, lowers the costs of recruitment and letting processes. Until these changes take effect on April 6, landlords can read the guide on on how to carry out Right to Rent check.

Why is Right to Rent changing?

According to the government, it is claimed that the working time and hours spent carrying out the checks will be slashed as landlords who use an IDSP will no longer need to physically examine documents.

IDSPs will also be able to undertake checks on behalf of employers and landlords on a large scale, for example in big recruitment campaigns when a high number of new employees are recruited.

Kevin Foster, minister for safe and legal migration, said: “Online checks make it quicker, easier and more secure for employers and landlords to carry out right to rent and right to work checks and stop those looking to abuse our immigration system.”

Foster continued: “These changes will make the checks more secure, quicker to do and will better support remote working practices.”

Julia Lopez, minister for media, data, and digital infrastructure, added: “We are determined to seize the potential of new technology to boost the economy and make people’s lives easier.”

Lopez concluded: “Trusted and secure ways for people to confidently verify themselves online will be a game-changer and offer an alternative to time-consuming and complex paper-based processes.”

When should Right to Rent checks be carried out?

Right to rent checks have to be carried out before landlords enter a tenancy agreement with a potential tenant. Any adult over the age of 18 who will be living the property must be checked, irrespective of whether they are named on the tenancy or not.

If a potential tenant has a time-limited right to rent, the checks must be carried out no sooner than 28 days before the start of the tenancy. It is also crucial to schedule a follow-up check in cases where a tenant’s time-limited right to rent expires while they are still living in the rental property.

Right to Rent checks when using a letting agent

Although landlords are required to ensure that right to rent checks are carried out, it is not a legal requirement that landlords take on the checks themselves. Letting agents are also able to carry out right to rent checks on behalf of the landlord.

As part of our letting services, we will confirm if potential tenants have the legal right to rent in the UK.

We have been an established estate and letting agent since 1999 and can help to manage your tenancies, allowing you to get the most from your rental properties as a result. We operate in Docklands and the surrounding areas including Surrey Quays and Rotherhithe.

For further guidance on any part of the lettings process, please contact us today. You can also request a free and instant online valuation to see how much rent you could be charging in the current marketplace.