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Changes to the Right to Rent Scheme

November 2020

Landlords or their agents are required to carry out “right to rent” checks on prospective new tenants. A person has the right to rent if they are a British citizen or an EEA or Swiss national, or if the person has leave to remain in the UK. The checks are similar to the “right to work” checks that employers are required to undertake. It is a criminal offence for a landlord knowingly to allow a property to be occupied by a tenant who does not have the “right to rent”.

From 2 November the government has made some changes to the right to rent scheme. The changes are as follows:

· Minor changes to the list of acceptable documents that a tenant may provide to demonstrate the right to rent.

· A new procedure for nationals of the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore and South Korea. Nationals of these countries need only show a passport together with a document (such as a boarding pass) showing entry into the UK within the last six months. If these documents are not available the landlord (or the landlord’s agent) can use the Home Office’s Landlord Checking Service to establish the tenant’s right to rent.

· A new online right to rent check has been introduced. Entrants to the UK will be able to enter their details, including a photograph, on a government website. The landlord or their agent will be able to access the webpage and verify the identity of the tenant.

The Right to Rent Checklists for Landlords and Agents have been reviewed and updated, to take account of the changes to the right to rent scheme.

Landlords and agents should also note that, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the government has temporarily adjusted the right to rent check rules to make it easier for landlords and agents to carry out checks. Further information about the temporary measures can be found here.

The contents of this Newsletter are for reference purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Independent legal advice should be sought in relation to any specific legal matter.

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