Right to rent guidelines cause concern

The government has been warned that landlords won't be able to meet new Right to Rent guidelines after Covid-19 subsides.;
Right to Rent

The government is being warned that landlords won’t be able to meet new Right to Rent guidelines once the Covid-19 pandemic subsides.

There is concern over the ‘adjusted checks’ system. The system was implemented to help letting agents and landlords carry out Right to Rent checks on prospective tenants, during the pandemic, whilst restrictions have been in place.

This adjustment has allowed letting agents and landlords to complete status checks, without having to meet tenants in person.

Thousands of tenancies have been agreed to using this system, but regulations state that once the Covid-19 pandemic is over, these tenancies will have to be re-checked for Right to Rent within eight weeks of the pandemic ending.

Unrealistic expectations

As a result, Timothy Douglas, Policy and Campaigns Manager at the ARLA Propertymark has written to MP Kevin Foster – the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Minister for Future Borders and Immigration, expressing his concern.

In the letter, Douglas explains that the scale of this task would be impossible to be undertaken by agents and landlords, within the timescale the government has set.

He states:

“Given the volume of checks that will now have built up, the majority of letting agents and landlords will undoubtedly fail to comply with the requirement to deliver retrospective checks.”

He adds that there are a ‘number of reasons for this’, including:

  • Tenants will not understand the importance of complying with a repeat check (despite the efforts of letting agents), they will believe they have already provided documents for a check and will not invest time in attending a branch for a retrospective, duplicate check.
  • A widespread education campaign will be needed to highlight the need for retrospective checks to reach landlords, whose properties are not managed by a professional letting agent.
  • Additionally, each check requires images to be stored and if the number of checks is doubled, the cumulative effect on file storage for corporate agencies is unmanageable.

Douglas also points out that in the future agents and landlords will also have to adopt new digital checks for applicants that are overseas while also carrying out full in person checks, including those for overseas nationals who elect to use other forms of identify documents.

He signs of the letter, by saying:

“I ask that you consider the benefits to tenants, landlords and letting agents of removing the need for retrospective, duplicate checks in order to ensure that landlords and letting agents can meet their legal requirements and support moves to the new points based immigration system through the first half of 2021.”

Impact on landlords

The anticipated failure in compliance with Right to Rent checks is another concern for landlords, during what is already an uncertain time.

The main concerns will be the time that it will take for landlords and lettings agents to carry out these checks again and the cooperation they receive from tenants.

Letting agents reported that even prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, tenants often did not understand the rationale in attending a branch for a repeat Right to Rent check. Therefore, some tenants will likely consider this exercise as redundant.

The adjustment in regulation was a relief for those landlords that were looking to rent their property, and as the Covid-19 pandemic continues, the amount of landlords it will effect will continue to increase.

The full letter can be read here.

This information should not be interpreted as financial advice. Mortgage and loan rates are subject to change.