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Home Office plans online checking for Right to Rent Scheme

30/09/20

Mark Say Managing Editor

The Home Office is planning to launch a new online service for landlords to check that potential tenants have the right to rent accommodation in the UK.

Chris Philp

Parliamentary Secretary Chis Philp MP (pictured) has outlined the move, scheduled for November, in a statement to the House of Commons, saying it comes after a court ruled that the Right to Rent Scheme, which it is designed to support, is within the law.

He said the new service will build on online checking services for employers conducting right to work checks, holders of biometric residence permits and people granted residency status under the EU Settlement Scheme. It will provide an alternative to checking physical documents.

Landlords will be able to carry out a right to check in real time and to do so using video calls.

The service will work with the prospective renter first viewing their Home Office profile, which they may then share with a landlord if they wish by providing a share code to access their record.

Philip said the authorisation represents an important safeguard and means landlords will only be able to view an individual’s right to rent information, and no other unrelated personal information

Need for change

He added: “We have worked closely with landlords and letting agents in designing the service, but we need to change right to rent legislation to enable them to rely on the new online service to discharge their legal responsibilities under the scheme.”

The Right to Rent Scheme was introduced in February 2016, ruled unlawful in the high court in March 2019 after a legal challenge by civil liberties groups and the Residential Landlords Association, then ruled lawful in the Court of Appeal in April of this year.

Image by Richard Townshend, CC BY 3.0

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