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Right to Rent Scheme COVID-19 Adjusted Checks Update

The Home Office announced on 12 May 2021 that the temporary adjustments to how landlords carried out the 'right to rent' checks would end on 20 June 2021.  

This date has now been delayed.

Following the UK Government announcement on 14 June 2021 to delay lifting the remaining lockdown restrictions until 19 July 2021, they have decided to push the date back for the resumption of physical document checks to 1 September 2021.  

This will ensure landlords have sufficient time to put measures in place to enable face to face document checks.

From 1 September 2021, landlords 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 you must be in possession of the original documents.  You can no longer accept a scanned copy or a photo of original documents, as this will not provide you with a defence against a civil penalty.

Alternatively, where applicable you can use the Home Office online right to rent service via https://www.gov.uk/view-right-to-rent, which does not require you to see or check the individual’s physical documents.  You 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 you permission to view their details in the form of a share code.  

This service can be used by those with a current Biometric Residence Permit or Card, status under the EU Settlement Scheme, or the points-based immigration system.

Landlords cannot insist individuals use this service or discriminate against those who choose to use their documents to prove their right to rent.

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.

You will maintain a defence against a civil penalty if the check you 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/coronavirus-covid-19-landlord-right-to-rent-checks

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