ARLA Propertymark has written a stark letter to the Home Office warning that its Right to Rent scheme could face collapse once the Covid pandemic ends.
The problem concerns the ‘adjusted checks’ system for Right to Rent implemented to help prevent the transmission of Covid, which enables agents to complete status checks without having to meet tenants in person.
This stop-gap is now eight months old and Propertymark says thousands tenancies have been agreed using this system – but the regulations say that once Covid is over, these tenancies will have to be re-checked for Right to Rent within eight weeks of the pandemic ending.
“Given the volume of checks that will now have built up, the majority of letting agents and landlords will undoubtedly fail to comply with the requirement to deliver retrospective checks,” the letter says.
Agents have told Propertymark that tenants are unlikely to appreciate being checked twice and are unlikely to help a second time around.
Also, the need to check twice will cause a huge digital compliance storage problem for landlords and agents who will need to capture duplicate paperwork.
This will be take place at the same time as the huge expansion of the Right to Rent scheme that, from next month onwards, will include EU citizens who have not yet applied for Settled Status.
“It is essential that the Home Office moves to accept adjusted Right to Rent checks on tenancies that started during the period under which the public health crisis requires minimal face to face dealings,” says Timothy Douglas, Policy & Campaigns Manager at Propertymark (left).
“I ask that you consider the benefits to tenants, landlords and letting agents of removing the need for retrospective, duplicate checks in order to ensure that landlords and letting agents can meet their legal requirements and support moves to the new points based immigration system through the first half of 2021.”