COVID-19: impact on Right to Rent Checks
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, from 30 March 2020, right to rent checks have been temporarily adjusted to make it easier for landlords to carry them out, as follows:
- Checks can now be carried out over video calls (tenants should be asked to hold up the original documents to the camera and they should be checked against the digital copy of the documents).
- Tenants can send scanned documents or a photo of documents for checks using email or a mobile app, rather than sending originals.
The date that the check was made should be recorded and should be marked as follows:
"An adjusted check has been undertaken on [insert date] due to COVID-19".
The Landlord's Checking Service should be contacted if the tenant cannot provide documents from the prescribed lists. However, once a request has been submitted, the service should not be contacted again (an answer will be supplied within two working days). The response should be kept for protection against a civil penalty.
The government will advise, in advance, when these COVID-19 temporary measures will end. Retrospective checks will then need to be carried out, within eight weeks of the COVID-19 measures ending, on tenants who started their tenancy during this period or required a follow-up check during this period. Landlords should keep both checks for their records.
The retrospective check should be marked as follows:
"The individual's tenancy agreement commenced on [insert date]. The prescribed right to rent check was undertaken on [insert date] due to COVID-19."
No enforcement action will be taken if an adjusted check has been carried out, or a check via the Home Office has been made and has been followed up with a retrospective check.
If, when carrying out the retrospective check, it is discovered that the tenant, who started their tenancy during this period, did not have a right to rent, the tenancy must be ended.
If, when carrying up a follow-up check during this period, it is discovered that the tenant no longer has a right to rent, the Home Office must be informed immediately.
No retrospective check is required if the check was done with original documentation.