What is Right to Rent and What Does It Mean For Landlords?
Alongside maintaining a great relationship with your tenants, protecting your property and livelihood is arguably the most important part of being a landlord.
The last eighteen months have been a turbulent time for many industries, and the rental market hasn’t escaped unscathed.
The COVID-19 pandemic, combined with Brexit, means the laws and regulations landlords are accustomed to have changed.
This guide will help to clarify what is right to rent, and what does it mean for landlords?
We’ll explain how Right to Rent has changed over the last year and a half, and what landlords need to do to maintain standards and regulation.
What is Right to Rent?
Right to Rent was originally introduced as part of the Immigration Act 2014. The UK government policy aims to ensure private landlords and agents check the immigration status of all tenants. The Right to Rent check must take place before the tenancy start date.
Prospective tenants must present documents to show they have the right to live in the UK, either temporarily or permanently.
Completing Right to Rent checks currently only applies to landlords in England. Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have delayed its introduction.
The Right to Rent checks are often straightforward, but any landlord that doesn’t comply may be subject to fines of up to £3,000 per unchecked tenant, and in extreme cases, imprisonment.
How does the Right to Rent scheme work?
The scheme requires landlords to legally confirm that all prospective tenants have the Right to Rent in England.
The scheme is an instruction to landlords to obtain, check and record the required documents for any adult wishing to rent the property. These checks are necessary to confirm the identity and immigration status of the tenants.
Who has the Right to Rent in the UK?
Prospective tenants have the right to rent a residential property in England if the following apply:
● They are a British citizen
● They have legal permission to be in the UK, including work and/or student visa
● They are considered to have refugee status or humanitarian protection
● They have indefinite leave to remain in the UK or have obtained settled status
● The Home Office has granted permission for a time-limited Right to Rent.
The new Right to Rent Check rules
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, all Right to Rent checks were required to take place face to face. The landlord (or letting agent if instructed) was required to inspect the original document provided by all prospective tenants.
Due to the restrictions with face-to-face contact coming into place in early 2020, Right to Rent checks can now take place electronically.
Prospective tenants can now submit a photo or scanned copy of the required documents via email. The copy of the document must then be inspected while on a video call with the tenant while it is checked against the digital copy.
The temporary measure put in place during the Coronavirus restrictions has been deferred several times, with the current deadline for adjusted online checks being extended until 5th April 2022.
How should landlords carry out the new rules?
The measures in place during the pandemic have been extended, and according to the UK Government website the following checks need to be fulfilled:
1) Checks can continue to be completed via video call
2) Tenants can send scanned documentation or a photo via email or an app such as WhatsApp
3) Record the date the check was completed and mark it as ‘adjusted check undertaken on [date] due to COVID-19
4) Landlords should refer to the Home Office Landlord Checking Service if the required documentation cannot be produced
How can homes4u help?
It’s understandable that as a busy landlord you may not have the time to manage your property portfolio or prefer to take a hands-off approach to manage your assets.
At homes4u, we’ve been working alongside landlords for over 30 years to offer award-winning property management services to many types of landlords.
Our management services can be adjusted to suit your needs. So, if you are a first-time landlord renting your second home or have an extensive portfolio our the team can help.
Get in touch today to find out more about our ‘Gold’ service.