The Government has announced that temporary changes which were introduced to the Right to Rent Scheme in March 2020 in response to the Coronavirus pandemic will remain in place until 5 April 2022 (inclusive).
This means landlords/agents can continue to carry out checks over video calls and tenants can send scanned documents for checks electronically, rather than sending originals. The person carrying out the check 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 they 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 permission to view their details
The changes came into effect on 30 March 2020 and were initially due to end on 16 May 2021 but this deadline was extended to 21 June 2021, then to 31 August 2021 and now to 5 April 2022. The decision to defer the date follows positive feedback received about the ability to conduct checks remotely.
In a statement, the Home Office said: "We initiated a review of the availability of specialist technology to support a system of digital right to rent checks in the future. The intention is to introduce a new digital solution to include many who are unable to use the Home Office online checking service, including UK and Irish citizens. This will enable checks to continue to be conducted remotely but with enhanced security".
The Government has confirmed that follow up in-person checks do not need to be undertaken on those who had virtual checks between 30 March 2020 and 5 April 2022.
In-person checks (if the online digital checker service cannot be used) will resume on 6 April 2022. New guidance is expected to be issued prior to this date.
“Deferring the end date of the adjusted checks to 5 April 2022 ensures the Right to Rent Scheme continues to operate in a manner which supports landlords and letting agents, whilst we look to implement a long-term, post-pandemic solution.”