ARLA Propertymark has claimed a significant lobbying coup after the Home Office last night announced it would not require agents and landlords to re-check tenants to be Right to Rent compliant.
During Covid tenants have been able to have their ID documents and identities checked via video calls, but this is due to end on the 17th May when full face-to-face checks will have to be completed once again.
The Home Office originally said that agents would have to re-check all these tenants within eight weeks of this date, which for many lettings agencies would have been a monumental and expensive task to complete.
But the Home Office has now announced that this won’t be necessary when in-person Right to Rent checks return, explaining: “This reflects the length of time the adjusted checks have been in place and supports landlords during this difficult time.”
ARLA Propertymark had been lobbying civil servants, saying tenants wouldn’t understand the need for repeating checks, leaving agents and landlords vulnerable to civil penalties if and when they needed to provide a statutory excuse.
The revised guidance means they can maintain a defence against a civil penalty if a Covid-adjusted check was conducted, “in the prescribed manner or as set out in the COVID-19 adjusted checks guidance”, says the Home Office.
“We are very pleased that the Home Office has listened to our concerns about the practical barriers that would have made it impossible for letting agents in England to repeat the volume of adjusted checks carried out over the last year due to the pandemic,” says Timothy Douglas, ARLA Propertymark policy and campaigns manager.
“Looking forward, it’s really important as we approach the end of the Brexit transition arrangements that letting agents can focus on getting to grips with the new system for all overseas nationals.”