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31 March, 2020 Open access

Government announces changes to ‘right to rent’ checks in response to coronavirus outbreak

New guidance confirms that checks can be carried out through video calls and that tenants can send scanned documents or a photo of documents rather than sending the originals

The government has announced changes to 'right to rent' checks in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

In new guidance to landlords, the government says that, as of 30 March 2020, the following temporary changes have been made -

The government goes on to advise that -

'Checks will continue to be necessary and you must continue to check the prescribed documents in the code of practice on illegal immigrants and private rented accommodation and right to rent document checks: a user guide. It remains an offence to knowingly lease premises to a person who is not lawfully in the UK.

Because of COVID-19 some individuals will be unable to evidence their right to rent. During this period, you must take extra care to ensure that no-one is discriminated against because they are struggling to evidence their right to rent. For more information, please see the code of practice for landlords: avoiding unlawful discrimination when conducting right to rent checks in the private rented residential sector.'

NB - the government has also announced similar changes to 'right to work' checks.

For more information, see Coronavirus (COVID-19): landlord right to rent checks from gov.uk