Temporary changes to Right to Rent rules, which were to end on 5th April, are to remain in place until 30th September.
The temporary changes were introduced during the pandemic when face-to-face meetings were not possible or actively discouraged. The deadline for end of the temporary changes has now been changed four times. The government states this most recent extension is to allow the sector further time to prepare for the digital systems being introduced for Right to Rent checks.
A statement from the Home Offices recommends that landlords and agents should “develop commercial relationships with identity service providers, make the necessary changes to their pre-tenancy checking processes and carry out responsible on-boarding of their chosen provider”.
The documents apply to residential tenancy agreements commencing on or after 6 April 2022 and where a repeat check on an existing tenant is required to be carried out on or after 6 April 2022.
Landlords and agents are advised to:
- Be consistent in how they conduct right to rent checks on all prospective tenants, including those who the landlord believes are more likely to be British citizens.
- Ensure that no prospective tenants are discouraged or excluded because of their ‘protected characteristics’ – of which the most relevant for Right to Rent checks are skin colour, nationality or ethnic or national origins.
Furthermore, landlords should not:
- Simply check the status of those who the landlord thinks appear or are likely to be migrants
- Treat those with a time-limited right to rent more or less favourably
- Treat those who have access to the Home Office online checking service more or less favourably
- Treat those who provide a manual documentation as listed in the list of acceptable documents more or less favourably
- Make assumptions about a person’s right to rent, or their immigration status on the basis of their colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins, accent or length of time they have been resident in the UK