Letting agents have written to the Home Office this morning to warn that its controversial Right to Rent scheme is likely to face a ‘widespread failure in compliance’ once the Covid pandemic ends.
ARLA Propertymark, which represents some 8,000 estate agents around the UK, has taken issue with the government’s temporary ‘adjusted checks’ system for Right to Rent during Covid.
This has enabled agents and landlords to complete checks without having to meet tenants in person.
But this temporary measure is now eight months old and ARLA says hundreds of thousands of tenancies have been secured using this system.
But the government’s Covid regulations stipulate that once the pandemic is over, these tenants will have to be re-checked for their Right to Rent within eight weeks.
“Recent sampling of our members has shown that almost all Right to Rent checks in that period have been carried out using the adjusted check method, in order to comply with public health guidance,” the letter days.
“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.”
ARLA says tenants are unlikely to appreciate being checked twice and are less likely to co-operate a second time around, and that the need to check twice will cause a huge bureaucratic and digital storage problem for landlords and agents.
This, the organisation claims, will be on top of the huge expansion of the Right to Rent scheme which from next month onwards will include EU citizens who have not yet applied for Settled Status.
“In this context, and with the time that has now lapsed since the introduction of adjusted checks, it is essential that the Home Office moves to accept adjusted Right to Rent checks on tenancies that started during the period under which the public health crisis requires minimal face to face dealings,” says Timothy Douglas, Policy & Campaigns Manager at Propertymark (pictured).
“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.”