As of today (6th April 2022), the Home Office has released an update to the Code of Practice on Right to Rent for all overseas individual who want to rent a property in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. What does this mean for people who do not hold a British passport issued by the United Kingdom? It gives confidents to landlords and letting agents that the tenant's immigration status allows them to legally rent a property in England.
Landlords and letting agents need to be aware that each time the tenant generates this shared code, the code changes. If the code in place is followed at the time of the check is made and evidence of it is recorded, the check will not need to be repeated. Why is it being introduced now? We have always had this shared code in place, but were widely used to provide evidence that an overseas individual has the legal rights to work in the UK and Northern Ireland. This version of the Right to Rent code, also known as the shared code should be applied to all Right to Rent checks from 6th April 2022, including a follow up check relates to an initial check understaken using a previous version of the code which was current at the time.
The changes to Right to Rent checks from 6th April 2022 is essential for all letting agents to follow at least one of the following to avoid a civil penalty imposed against them.
- Hard copy (manual) Right to Rent check
- Right to Rent check using Identity Document Validation Technology (IDVT) via the services of an Identity Service Provider (IDSP)
- Or a Home Office online Right to Rent check.
The latter is proving to be the preferred method potential tenants are using to identify their Right to Rent in the UK and Northern Ireland. It is fairly quick and easy to follow the instructions on the Home Office website, should the potential tenant have all the necessary information to hand, at the time of requesting their shared code. All letting agents should not be seen to discrimnate against those that do not want to prove their identity in this way. Checks can be made in person. The Home Office has announced that there are currently no plans to remove the option for agents to conduct in person, hard copy (manual checks).
The Biometric Residence Permits (BRPs) and Biometric Residence Cards (BRCs) will no longer be necessary as the shared code would take into consideration the individual person's immigrations status. This service is free of charge for anyone who holds a non-British citizenship from the Home Office website. To access the shared code click here.
There are 4 steps to establishing and maintaining a statutory excuse against liability for a civil penalty.
- Conduct an inital Right to Rent check of occupation (the advance period is limited to 28 days if the ID only allows time-limited Right to Rent)
- Schedule a follow up check if the initial check dictates a time-limted Right to Rent
- Make a report to the Home Office if follow up checks indicate that an occupier no longer has the Right to Rent
- Agents should ensure that they are up to date on accepted documents, following changes made to remove identification evidencing EU and EEA nationality, as of July 2021.
The code of practice explains
- If the property is affected
- If any exemptions apply
- How to carry out a Right to Rent check
- What documents individuals can show you as evidence of their Right to Rent
- When and how to request a Right to Rent check from the Home Office
- How to avoid unlawful discrimination when conducting immigration Right to Rent checks
- How the civil penalty scheme works.
Landlords or properties throughout England should check that someone has the Right to Rent before letting them a property. At Property Hub Ltd, all our letting agents conduct these Right to Rent checks and have changed all necessary paperwork to reflect the new changes that has come into effect today. While vetting a potential tenant who holds an overseas passport, a discussion of obtaining the shared code under the Right to Rent checks is discussed. We offer impartial advice on where potential tenants can obtain this shared code that is now an essential part of renting in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.