The Right to Rent rules that govern landlords in England are due to change
That's when the Home Office will introduce several changes that, they say,
will make it easier for agents and landlords to check that a potential
tenant has the right to rent a property.
There are also new rules coming into force affecting potential tenancy
applications from what are known as B5JSSK countries.
Currently, under the Covid-19 restrictions, the Home Office has not
demanded that landlords check a potential tenant's original documents,
preferring instead that a check be done over a video call.
Now, the new rules will see landlords and agents having to use an online
page that will include not only the potential tenant's photograph, but also
details of their right to rent and work in the country.
Agents and landlords then simply need to verify that the photograph on the
Home Office webpage is of their potential tenant - and keep a copy of the
webpage for a year after the tenancy ends.
For B5JSSK nationals - those are people from Canada, Australia, New Zealand
and Japan as well as Singapore, South Korea and the USA - they will need a
valid passport and be able to produce an electronic or paper document
showing their entry into the UK within the last six months.
These applicants can also seek approval using the Landlord Checking Service
which will give them a right to rent for 12 months, even if they only have
a six-months visa.
A partner at JMW Solicitors, David Smith, said: "The changes are fairly
cosmetic and make things easier for certain groups.
"However, landlords still have an obligation to behave as a border control
officer and to report their tenants to the Home Office."
He added that the system will probably undergo a radical change next year
as the UK moves towards a points-based immigration system.
Simon Thompson, the managing director of Accommodation for Students, said:
"The Right to Rent regime has been controversial for landlords who have had
to go to the time and trouble of finding out whether a potential tenant has
the right to rent a home.
“This should not be their job and, hopefully, any changes next year will
make life easier for landlords as a result."
Landlords should consider text messages for rent arrears
Meanwhile, one firm says that landlords should consider using text messages
to remind their tenants whenever their rent is due.
PayProp, the rent payment processing firm, says that landlords can also use
text messages to chase any late rent payments.
Texting will save resources and time, and will meet the needs of most
tenants – with most people preferring not to receive phone calls and
emails, and texting could be more effective.
The firm's chief sales officer, Neil Cobbold, said: "It is clear that
texting has become an effective method of communication. Letters are easily
ignored, and younger tenants are less likely to use their phone to speak."