The UK Government has today announced changes to the “Right to rent and right” legislation, including checks on Right to work.
This announcement is welcome news for landlords and letting agents. The home secretary said today; this has been adapted, to make it easier for landlords and employers, to carry them out, during the coronavirus outbreak.
The home secretary said: this is effective immediately, the temporary changes will mean, the Home Office will not require landlords and employers to see original documents. This will allow checks to be undertaken, over video calls.
How does this help, renter, landlords, or letting agents?
Governments view is, the temporary changes will mean that during the coronavirus outbreak, prospective renters and workers are now able to submit scanned documents, rather than originals, to show they have a right to rent or right to work.
The checks continue to be necessary, and it is an offence to knowingly employ or let property to anyone who does not have the correct legal immigration status to rent in the UK.
If a prospective or existing tenant or employee cannot provide any of the accepted documents, the landlord or employer should use the Landlord Checking Service or Employer Checking Service.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “I introduced these temporary changes, to help employers and landlords conduct checks more easily, as people follow advice to stay at home, to protect the NHS, and save lives, during the coronavirus outbreak.
Once the temporary changes end, landlords and employers will be asked to carry out the full checks on existing tenants, and employees who rented property or started work during the pandemic” she said.
Right to rent and Right live in the UK checks
The ‘right to rent’’ scheme requires landlords or letting agents to check that all tenants who occupy a property have legal status to live in the UK.
The Right to work checks is a legal requirement for employers to make sure a job applicant can work in the UK before employing them.
How to process documents under COVID-19?
Now under the new temporary rules landlords and letting agents can use the following mode:
- Request the tenant to provide a scanned copy of their original documents, which they can submit by email or other electronic means.
- The landlord or agent to contact the tenant by any video platform to show the original documents by live video link. This should be recorded, and the landlord should check the soft copies of the documents against the original shown on the live video link. The information on the soft copies, the landlord holds, should match the document’s that are shown by video.
- We strongly recommend you keep all documents, the video. All should be marked with a time date stamp.
The BLA spoke to letting agent, Mr Paul Chatsworth the letting manager from Mayfair of Grimsby regarding the changes and he said: “We have been operating from home, we are mainly trying to deal with repairs and urgent things like that. However, we do have some tenancy applications we need to deal with, and this announcement makes things a lot easier for all of us.”
He added: “The problem we have been facing is, some prospective tenants do not have any facilities to obtain scanned copies, library and non-essential business are all closed”.
We could process the applicants at our offices and take copies and process them that way. This defeats the whole reasons in the first place, why the announcement was made. We will have to wait until we open our offices whenever that may be.
British Landlords Association
Author: Marc Attwater
Date: 30th of March 2020
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