A new Home Office code of practice comes into force today making changes to what letting agents in England need to do to carry out Right to Rent checks.
Timothy Douglas, head of policy and campaigns at Propertymark, explains what it means.
With the introduction of the new Code, agents should familiarise themselves with revised lists of accepted documents. Under the new rules, hard copy forms of biometric cards and permits along with frontier workers permits (seasonal workers) will not be accepted from today, April 6.
The new code paves the way for the introduction of certified digital identity service providers which will run digital identity checks for British and Irish Citizens as part of the Home Office’s introduction of identity document validation technology framework.
Adjusted checks using video calls will continue to be accepted until September 30.
The changes were introduced to reduce in person contact during the COVID-19 pandemic and were never intended to be a permanent solution as the Home Office maintain that identity document checks must be more robust than video calls allow.
As a result of lobbying from Propertymark there is now no requirement for agents to carry out repeat physical checks on an adjusted check carried out during the pandemic.
Following the end of adjusted checks, digital checks on UK and Irish nationals will only be permitted through identity service providers who will provide this in exchange for a fee.
Agents can continue to use specified hard copy documents for UK and Irish nationals or BJ5SSK nationals (nationals of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and the USA) but if IDSP is offered, agents must not discriminate against applicants that would prefer to provide hard copy documents checked either online to September 30.
From September 30 these checks must be carried out in person with records kept. There is no identity card system for British citizens therefore the system is likely to continue to include acceptance of hard copy documents for British and Irish citizens.
In response to the changes, Propertymark has published comprehensive FAQs which looks to answer any questions agents may have. Propertymark members can log into their member area on the Propertymark website to download them: www.propertymark.co.uk/login