We continue to work behind the scenes to ensure your property investment is unaffected by this pandemic were currently living through. The law appears to be constantly changing and adapting, as a result of the evolving landscape of the industry as a whole. We are aiming to keep you updated, so you are aware of how our working practices are changing to remain compliant. This information will also be of importance if you are self-managing any additional properties, or have friends within the industry whose properties are not currently being managed by our team here at Belvoir.
Latest update on checking right to rent documents for tenants [as of 30th March 2020]:
Right to rent checks have been temporarily adjusted due to coronavirus (COVID-19), to make it easier for landlords to carry them out.
As of 30 March 2020 the following temporary changes have been made:
- checks can now be carried out over video calls
- tenants can send scanned documents or a photo of documents for checks using email or a mobile app, rather than sending originals
- landlords should use the Landlord’s Checking Service if a prospective or existing tenant cannot provide any of the existing documents
Checks will continue to be necessary and you must continue to check the prescribed documents in the code of practice on illegal immigrants and private rented accommodation and right to rent document checks: a user guide. It remains an offence to knowingly lease premises to a person who is not lawfully in the UK.
Because of COVID-19 some individuals will be unable to evidence their right to rent. During this period, you must take extra care to ensure that no-one is discriminated against because they are struggling to evidence their right to rent. For more information, please see the code of practice for landlords: avoiding unlawful discrimination when conducting right to rent checks in the private rented residential sector.
Conducting a right to rent check during the temporary COVID-19 measures:
- Ask the tenant to submit a scanned copy or a photo of their original documents via email or using a mobile app.
- Arrange a video call with the tenant – ask them to hold up the original documents to the camera and check them against the digital copy of the documents.
- Record the date you made the check and mark it as “an adjusted check has been undertaken on [insert date] due to COVID-19”.
If the tenant does not have the right documents;
You must contact the Landlord’s Checking Service if the tenant cannot provide documents from the prescribed lists.
Once you have submitted your request to the service, please do not try to contact them again. You will get an answer within 2 working days. You must keep their response to protect against a civil penalty.
After the COVID-19 measures end
After these measures end you must to revert to the checking process set out in the code of practice on illegal immigrants and private rented accommodation and right to rent document checks: a user guide.
You should carry out retrospective checks on tenants who:
- started their tenancy during this period
- required a follow-up check during this period
You should mark the retrospective check: “the individual’s tenancy agreement commenced on [insert date]. The prescribed right to rent check was undertaken on [insert date] due to COVID-19.”
The retrospective check must be carried out within 8 weeks of the COVID-19 measures ending. Both checks should be kept for your records.
The Home Office will not take any enforcement action against you if you carried out the adjusted check set out in this guidance, or a check via the Home Office, and follow this up with the retrospective check.
If, at the point of carrying out the retrospective check, you find your tenant, who started their tenancy during this period, did not have a right to rent you must take steps to end the tenancy.
If you find a tenant who required a follow-up check during this period no longer has a right to rent, you must report this to the Home Office as soon as you have carried out the check.
If the check you have undertaken during this period was done with original documentation, you do not need to undertake a retrospective check.
We hope this is useful and please rest assured that we will continue to operate at the highest level service for you throughout this.
We are in this together and we will continue to be available for help and advice throughout this uncertain time. If you are concerned about this or any other information you have been sent, please feel free to contact us via phone or email. Please also feel free to send this email to any fellow landlords who it may be of interest to (or direct them to me and I will be happy to discuss any issues they may have as a result of COVID-19), it is more important than ever to remain compliant in this fast paced environment.
Stay safe, stay positive & let’s continue to work together as a community to find a way through this unprecedented time.