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What are the changes to the Right to Rent legislation?

What is a Right to Rent check?

Right to Rent, introduced under the Immigration Act 2014, requires any/all occupants over the age of 18 to provide evidence that they are in the UK legally in order to be granted a tenancy. Since 1st February 2016 it has been a legal requirement for all landlords and agents to perform these checks.

To demonstrate that they have this right, the applicant must undergo a Right to Rent check, in which they present their identity documents to a landlord or letting agent.

The landlord or letting agent must take a copy of the relevant documents and keep a physical record to demonstrate that the appropriate checks have been completed.

Why are changes being introduced and what are they?

The UK’s decision to leave the EU resulted in the end of free movement in the UK on 31st December 2020. From 1st January 2021, a six-month grace period started for all EEA and Swiss Nationals, during which they were encouraged to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (ESS). There are two primary outcomes deriving from this application process. ‘Settled status’ means the applicant has a permanent right to rent, while ‘pre-settled status’, means the applicant has the right to rent on a time-limited basis.

The grace period for this has now expired, which means all EEA (European Economic Area) citizens and Swiss nationals must now show evidence of their immigration status in the UK (instead of just their nationality). This is in the same way that any non-EEA foreign nationals have had to do since the start of the Right to Rent scheme.

How does this impact the Lettings process?

For UK, non-EEA and non-Swiss National residents, the process will remain unchanged.

For EEA and Swiss national applicants – with the exception of Irish Citizens – an EEA passport or national ID card are no longer enough to demonstrate a valid Right to Rent. As of now they will have to undergo a Right to Rent check. A Right to Rent check can be undertaken in two ways:

  • Manual Right to Rent Check: this is completed in person by the agent or landlord. The applicant provides original documents showing their immigration status face-to-face, which allows the agent or landlord to confirm that the documents match the person in front of them.
  • Home Office Online Service: this is a way for an applicant to satisfy a Right to Rent check without providing physical documents. It is available to EEA citizens that have been given ‘settled’ or ‘pre-settled’ status, Non-EEA citizens with a current biometric resident permit or card, those with status under the points-based immigration system and those with a British National Overseas Visa or a Frontier Worker Permit. After using the service to prove their immigration status, the applicant will be given a ‘Share Code’ to pass to the agent or landlord. The agent or landlord will use this to confirm the ‘Right to Rent’ status.

Our expert Lettings Team are happy to help with any enquiries. They are best placed to advise on which process each individual applicant should follow.

How can Marsh & Parsons help?

Marsh & Parsons have a team of dedicated Lettings experts who are fully versed in the relevant legislation and have up-to-the-minute knowledge of all recent and upcoming changes. Part of our service includes carrying out these initial Right to Rent checks and any required follow ups to ensure that both our landlords and tenants are fully complaint with all legislation.

Our Lettings team will be happy to discuss the latest changes to the Right to Rent legislation and show how we ensure that landlords are fully compliant. Contact your local office here.

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