Right to Rent changes from the 1st October

Right to Rent checks

From the 1st of October the rules regarding how landlords / letting agents verify a tenants Right to Rent changed. Landlords and letting agents are now able to use a certified Identity Service Provider (IDSP) like Credas to verify an individual’s identity for Right to Rent checks.

This replaces the Covid-19 adjusted process introduced by the Home Office which ended on 30th September 2022 and which allowed for ID documents to be received via email or video chat.

Credas is one of only a few companies that are certified for both ‘Right To Work’ and ‘Right to Rent’ checks against the Home Office requirements of the UK DIATF.

What does the regulation say?

In England all landlords and letting agents are required to check that a tenant or lodger can legally rent the property.

Before the start of a new tenancy, you must check all tenants aged 18 and over, even if:

  • they’re not named on the tenancy agreement
  • there’s no tenancy agreement
  • the tenancy agreement is not in writing

The Government has clear guidelines on what is expected of landlord/letting agents and if they follow said guidelines they can establish a statutory excuse against a civil penalty in the event a tenant is found to be renting, despite not having the right to rent.

To establish a statutory excuse landlord / letting agent must do one of the following before entering into a tenancy agreement with a prospective tenant:

  1.  a manual right to rent check
  2.  a right to rent check using Identity Verification Technology (IDVT) via the services of an Identity Service Provider (IDSP)
  3.  a Home Office online right to rent check

In order to establish a statutory excuse against a penalty, right to rent checks must be undertaken within specific time limits:

  • a check on a person with an unlimited right to rent may be undertaken at any time before the residential agreement is entered into
  • a check on a person with a time-limited right to rent must be undertaken and recorded no earlier than 28 days before the start date of the tenancy agreement

What does this mean for landlords/letting agents?

Landlords will obtain a statutory excuse where they can demonstrate that they have complied with all the statutory requirements to conduct right to rent checks.  Where they have used an IDSP, the statutory
excuse will only be obtained where that IDSP has also complied with the required steps.  

For landlords / letting agents to be able to rely upon the IDVT identity check carried out by an IDSP to prove eligibility for the purpose of a RTR check and obtain a statutory excuse, a valid British or Irish passport (including passport cards) must be provided to the IDSP and checked by them using IDVT for the purposes of identity verification.

Where an IDSP is used, landlords retain obligations that they must comply with under the RTR Scheme.  The landlord needs to complete the following steps before the tenancy agreement commences to ensure a prescribed check has been undertaken, in order to establish a statutory excuse.

  • Use an IDSP to check a prospective tenant’s valid British or Irish passport (or Irish passport card) using IDVT.
  • Obtain an output of the IDVT identity check from the IDSP containing a copy of the IDVT identity check, and the document checked, in a clear, legible format that cannot be altered.
  • Carry out their own due diligence to satisfy themselves to a reasonable belief that their chosen IDSP has completed the check correctly in the prescribed manner.
  • Satisfy themselves that the photograph and biographic details (for example, date of birth) on the output from the IDVT identity check are consistent with the individual (i.e. the information provided by the check relates to the individual and they are not an imposter).
  • Where names differ between documents, the landlord must establish why this is the case and must not let to that individual unless they are satisfied that the documents relate to them. A statutory excuse will not be obtained where it is reasonably apparent that the prospective tenant is not the individual linked to the identity which was verified by the IDSP.
  • Landlords must retain this information securely for the duration of the tenancy and for one year afterwards. The copy must then be securely destroyed.

What is a certified IDSP?

A IDSP or Identity Service Provider is a business that offers identity verification through a range of methods including using biometric facial recognition, machine reading and NFC technology.

Over the last few years IDV technology has been widely adopted across multiple industries playing a vital role in combatting fraud and money laundering. Due to this widespread adoption and the varying degrees of capabilities between vendors, the UK Government developed a new Digital Identities and Attributes Trust Framework (DIATF) that set out clear standards IDSP should adhere to.

The Trust Framework also introduced a new accreditation programme that allowed IDSPs to be independently assessed against the standard and be awarded certification if successful. All certified IDSPs can be found on the DCMS website allowing businesses to easily choose a suitable supplier.

In conclusion

If you use an IDSP certified to do Right to Rent checks, and once they do the check you review the report to check

1. It’s an in-date valid UK/Irish passport
2. The identity has been verified
3. The identity matches the person you met during the viewing..

.and you keep all the data for the duration of the tenancy + 1 year; you’re fine.