Digital Right to Rent Checks Launching this Month!

Hello Medway Property News Readers!

Along with all the legislative obligations landlords need to meet, another prospective job title for UK landlords looks to be ‘Immigration Officer’ as there is to be a requirement for “Right to Rent” checks to be carried out on tenants.

Whilst there are no official statistics held for the number of non-UK tenants renting property, Joseph Rowntree Foundation reported in 2010 that 75% of all migrants live in privately rented accommodation.

This figure will certainly have changed over the past decade, but it is a helpful indicator of how important the rental sector is for those coming to the UK and how vital it is to have the right checks in place.

With January’s deadline for Brexit looming large, it is reassuring that the NRLA has confirmed EEA citizens can continue demonstrating their entitlement to rent by showing landlords a valid passport or national ID card until 30th June 2021.

When it comes to compliance in relation to right-to-rent checks, however, there are hefty potential fines of up to £3,000 for landlords who fail to comply with these checks and, in some cases, threat of a custodial sentence for non-compliance.

Digital Right To Rent Checks

I was encouraged earlier this week to read that the Government is soon to launch a digital right to rent checking system which should make things much easier for landlords!

The NRLA has published an article detailing that the new online system which will enable non-UK nationals in England to evidence their Right to Rent status digitally will be launched on 25th November.

This system will be free to use and people entering the UK will be able to enter their details including a photograph on the Government website where they can then share access with their landlord by providing a ‘share code’ and date of birth.

I believe that this new system will be an excellent tool to help ensure landlords are able to make appropriately informed decisions when letting out their properties.

I am unsure about the logistics of how this new system will be rolled out and made accessible, however, the NRLA have outlined that landlords will need to visit www.check-right-to-rent.service.gov.uk where prospective tenants will be able to view their Home Office profile that should carry data about the eligibility of the individual to live in the UK.

You will notice that this link is not yet live, so I will certainly be keen to hear any experiences from landlords who use it when it is launched! I am hoping that the documents which are uploaded will be verified by the Home Office in some way.

The NRLA has stated that it understands the new system will not replace the current Right To Rent checks but should make them simpler for landlords and reduce instances of doubts and suspicions around potentially forged documentation or uncertainty about which documents need to be checked.

Documentation Changes From 2nd November

Another important change which landlords to be aware of is that, as of 2n November 2020, tenants from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea or the United States of America must complete their right-to-rent check differently.

Landlords will need to have sight of the prospective tenant’s passport and a paper or electronic document (such as a boarding pass) showing that they entered the UK within the last six months. There is also a Landlord Checking Service where approval can be gained online.

Good News for Landlords!

The above changes are welcome news for landlords and the rental sector. However, whilst the paper-based system is still in operation, I fully expect that it will only be good landlords who complete the right checks. Rogue landlords will, unfortunately, continue risking fines by not carrying out checks appropriately!

It will be interesting to see how this new system works and I would advise that landlords seek external direction in relation to any reviews of their policies and procedures to make sure they have kept the right records in the right way, should they be required.

I trust that you found this article insightful and remember that you can book in an in-depth discovery call with me for £147 here. You are also welcome to get in touch with me via LinkedIn and I will be happy to answer any questions that you may have.

Hasan

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