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An overview

The way that landlords and agents can check their tenants' right to rent in England is going digital, with three alternatives to manual checks either in use or on the horizon.

There's the Home Office's Landlord Checking Service if the applicant can't supply relevant evidence of their right. This is a different process from using the Home Office's online service, where tenants can provide landlords with a share code to check. This second process will become mandatory for applicants with Biometric Residence Cards or permit holders from 6 April.

And, from 6 April, landlords will be able to start using the new Identity Service Providers (IDSPs) and Identity Document Validation Technology (IDVT) for British and Irish citizens - with an extension of the temporary Covid-adjusted checks until 30 September, giving the IDSPs time to gain accreditation - and to give landlords and agents some breathing room to prepare.

Landlords Guide to Right To Rent Checks

The February 2022 guide has been released by the Home Office and can be found HERE

This guidance advises a landlord, letting agent or homeowner on how to conduct a right to rent check when letting privately rented accommodation. The guidance sets out the specific actions they can take to prevent liability for a civil penalty. This is called establishing a statutory excuse against liability for a penalty.

Since 1 July 2021, EEA citizens and their family members are required to hold a valid immigration status in the UK, in the same way as other foreign nationals.

They can no longer rely on an EEA passport or national identity card to prove their right to rent.

The guidance publication, in July 2021, contained the following significant updates. It changed the way EEA citizens prove their right to rent in the UK from 1 July 2021 by making:

• Changes to the acceptable document list to remove EEA passports, national identity cards and specified EEA Regulations documents, which only confirmed the individual’s nationality or that they were exercising EEA Treaty Rights

• Changes to the acceptable document list to include:

-  Irish passport and passport card 7

- A document issued by the Crown Dependencies Jersey, Guernsey, or the Isle of Man, which has been verified as valid by the Home Office Landlord Checking Service

- A frontier worker permit

- Swiss Service Provider Permit

On 6 August 2021, the government announced temporary protection for more applicants to the EUSS. This means that those who apply from 1 July, and joining family members, will have their rights protected while their application is determined. This guidance, initially published on 31 August 2021, reflects this change.