Propertymark is warning that higher Right To Rent costs are likely to hit agents when new processes kick in this autumn.
From October 1 agents responsible for tenancy applications and repeat Right to Rent checks will need to revisit their processes in readiness either for a return to manual face-to-face checks or to sign up to a PropTech firm registered by the government as a digital identity service provider or IDSP.
Propertymark notes that these changes come at the same time as agencies will need to manage rising costs from increased energy bills and the costs of retaining staff with more expensive pay and perks packages.
The trade body says that following the announcement of the first IDSPs, agents should prepare for the changes, especially as the Tenant Fees Act 2019 means that any costs incurred in delivering Right to Rent checks cannot be passed on to applicants.
Propertymark chief executive Nathan Emerson says: “The work required for agents to comply with Right to Rent checks in England has ballooned since its first introduction under the Immigration Act in 2014 and there are now more than 100 pages of guidance for agents to understand and lots of change during the last three years.
“The Tenant Fees Act 2019 has left agents bearing increased costs in this area.
“We are approaching a period with additional requirements irrespective of whether an agent continues with both face-to-face Right to Rent checks at application and at follow up, or uses one of the approved IDSP suppliers. This is a particular issue for increased administration with students who are UK nationals starting their academic year.”
Adjusted checks were introduced as part of Covid-19 measures to reduce face-to-face contact and were extended while the Home Office worked to introduce a robust digital solution for checks on UK and Irish nationals.
With the end of adjusted checks this autumn, agents will have to sign up to an IDSP or offer manual, face-to-face checks where the applicant offers eligible UK or Irish ID. Where agents do choose to utilise an IDSP, they must make allowance for British and Irish nationals who choose for their identity to be verified offline and must not discriminate on this basis.
Digital checks on overseas nationals can be conducted wiithout incurring external costs using a digital share code and date of birth provided by the applicant and checked with the Home Office system; agents using the face-to-face system are advised to factor in the additional time and resource that goes into making appointments for applicant checks and follow-ups.