COVID-19 changed many things, including how Right to Rent checks were conducted by letting agents and landlords in England. But the shift to checks via video call amid the pandemic ended in September 2022. Find out how they are being carried out now.
The End of Virtual Right to Rent Checks
Letting agents and landlords in England are required by law to check that all tenants over the age of 18 who occupy their properties have legal status to live in the UK. Known as Right to Rent checks, this requires them to undertake ID checks prior to letting out the property. Introduced by the Home Office, the checks aim to make it harder for people to live and work in England illegally.
Between March 2020 and September 2022, letting agents and landlords were permitted to conduct checks via video calls due to COVID-19 restrictions. Since September 2022, these virtual checks are no longer permitted.
There are three methods that can still be used to conduct Right to Rent checks:
This involves the letting agent or landlord physically checking an original form of ID – from the list of acceptable identification documents – in the presence of the prospective tenant. Acceptable documents for a physical Right to Rent check fall into three categories: List A, List A Group 2, and List B.
If the tenant provides ID from List A, the check can be conducted at any point prior to the start of the tenancy. If the tenant provides ID from List B, the check must be carried out within 28 days before the start of the tenancy.
Letting agents and landlords are also legally required to conduct subsequent checks where the ID provided is time-limited – such as a student visa.
Identity Service Providers (IDSPs)
Since April 2022, letting agents and landlords can outsource the ID verification element of Right to Rent checks to Identity Verification Service Providers (IDSPs). Certified IDSPs are third-party providers who, having met the required Home Office standards, are permitted to carry out digital Right to Rent checks on British and Irish citizens who hold a valid passport – including Irish passport cards.
Home Office Share Code system
If you’re an overseas national with Home Office immigration status, you can simply provide a share code together with your date of birth to any letting agent or landlord. They will cross-check this information with the Home Office’s real-time system to generate your Right to Rent decision – and you won’t need to provide any further documentation.
Your share code will be valid for 90 days from when you create it. At the end of the 90 days, the code will become invalid, and the letting agent or landlord will no longer have access to your immigration information – so you will have to provide a new share code.
Good luck with your property search in London. But remember, you won’t get the keys to your ideal home until you have passed all the necessary checks.
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