Right to Rent Checks and Covid-19: Temporary Change

28th April 2020

Since 1st February 2016, landlords have been required to carry out Right to Rent checks on prospective tenants.  This is to ensure that the tenant has the right to live in the UK.  

Tenants must show original documentation to the landlord (usually a passport).  If the landlord is happy that it is genuine, they should take a copy and keep it on file for the duration of the tenancy and for 12 months thereafter.  If a tenant only has a temporary right to live in the UK, then if the tenant provides evidence to the landlord, they can accept this but need to ensure that their right to remain in the UK is renewed.  If the tenant cannot provide evidence, the landlord needs to check with the Home Office Landlords’ Checking Service.  

The requirement to carry out the checks remains in place.  

However, now that everyone is being restricted by self-isolation and social distancing, a temporary change to this process has been introduced.  New tenants should send landlords their identification by email or mobile app.  Both landlord and tenant should have a video call where the tenant shows the landlord the document on screen.  The landlord should record the date the video check was done and print out the copy document and mark it “an adjusted check has been undertaken on [date] due to Covid-19”.  

When the restrictions have been lifted and this temporary arrangement removed, you will need to carry out retrospective checks on those documents and undertake the correct procedure as required above.  

For further information or advice, contact  Jacqui Swann on 01935 846254 or e-mail at jacqui.swann@battens.co.uk