Right to rent – temporary changes

7th April 2020

The government has temporarily adjusted the process for carrying out ‘Right to Rent’ checks during the current measures implemented for Covid-19.

For the time being checks can be carried out over video calls and tenants can supply scanned copies or photos of documents rather than providing originals. The temporary measures came into effect on 30 March 2020 and were outlined in the government’s guidance here.

The Government have stipulated this does not negate the landlords responsibility to carry out Right to Rent checks, confirming the checks ‘…continue to be necessary…’ and emphasise ‘..It remains an offence to knowingly lease premises to a person who is not lawfully in the UK…’.

To carry out a Right to Rent check under the temporary Covid-19 measures, you will need to:

  • Ask the tenant to submit a scanned copy or a photo of their original documents by email or using a mobile app.
  • Arrange a video call with the tenant and ask them to hold up the original documents to the camera and check them against the digital copy they supplied 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”.

When the temporary measures are lifted – Right to Rent checks will need to be carried out retrospectively. If tenants have started their tenancy or require a follow up check during this period, the Right to Rent check must then be:

  • Marked as: “The individual’s tenancy agreement commenced on [insert date]. The prescribed Right to Rent check was undertaken on [insert date] due to Covid-19.”
  • Carried out within 8 weeks of the Covid-19 measures ending.

Both checks should be kept for your records. For some tenants, the pandemic may directly hinder their ability to provide evidence of their Right to Rent. If a tenant cannot provide documents from the prescribed lists you must contact the Landlords Checking Service. The Landlords Checking Service will respond within 2 days and you must keep this alongside any documents or correspondence you hold.

With over 150 pieces of legislation affecting landlords we know it can be hard to keep up with regulations at the best of times! If you have any questions about your responsibilities as a landlord or any temporary measures implemented by the Government, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Please note this information is accurate to the best of our knowledge on the date of publication. We endeavour to keep our Covid-19 content as up to date as, however, due to advice and guidance changing regularly, please refer to gov.uk for the latest advice and information.