Brexit and Right to Rent: What landlords need to know

03/01/2021

Brexit and Right to Rent: What landlords need to know

 

Ahead of the 31 December 2020, we wanted to remind members that Government guidance states that private landlords will need to carry out Right to Rent checks in the same way they do at present, until June 2021.  

This includes performing checks on prospective tenants from the EU, EEA and Switzerland. They can still provide their national ID card or passport as proof of their right to rent after the Brexit transition period comes to an end later this month.

In June 2021 , new guidance will be published covering how landlords can perform right to rent checks for EEA nationals. The NRLA will keep members informed in relation to this, and if any area of housing law is likely to change as a result of Brexit.

It comes as the Government launched a new online Right to Rent system last month, which allows landlords to check the Right to Rent status of prospective tenants who -

  • has a biometric residence card or permit
  • has settled or pre-settled status
  • applied for a visa and used the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to scan their identity document on their phone

The prospective tenant can provide a ‘share code’ and their birth date to allow the landlord access to the online portal, making it easier for landlords to check entrants into the UK.

As of 2 November 2020, nationals of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea or the United States of America have also been able to prove their right to rent status differently. Prospective tenants from these countries now need to show the landlord their passport and a paper or electronic document (such as a boarding pass) showing entry into the UK within the last six months. Alternatively, they can also get approval via the online Landlord Checking Service.

Guidance for landlords on Right to Rent checks

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Right to Rent checks were temporarily adjusted by the Government for landlords to be able to carry them out differently. These temporary changes still apply, and mean that:

  • Initial checks can be carried out over video calls using a scanned copy of the valid documents.
  • The landlord should mark the scanned document with “an adjusted check has been undertaken on [insert date] due to COVID-19” and the date on which the check was made.
  • A follow up check to confirm the occupier has a valid right to rent will be required in the future but no date on this has been set yet.

What could the impact of Brexit be on other areas such as mortgages and insurance?

Doug Hall, of NRLA partners 3mc shares his opinion about how Brexit could impact the mortgage market: 

“Most mortgage products available in the market include a requirement for UK residency. The T&Cs for these products are unlikely to change for UK nationals as a result of Brexit. However, non-UK nationals may find it harder to borrow if they are unable to provide evidence of continuous employment, residency and a right to live in the UK.

Many lenders already require non-EU foreign nationals to provide evidence of the right to remain in the UK as a condition of lending. Similar conditions may be extended to EU foreign nationals, depending on what is agreed on continued freedom of movement and work conditions within the EU. As an example, Santander now requires citizens from the EEA to prove their right to reside in the UK when applying for a mortgage with a Loan to Value of 75% or more. “

Steve Barnes, Associate Director of Hamilton Fraser Total Landlord Insurance says:

“Regarding insurance - some insurance underwriters are changing the terms and conditions of new insurance policies for landlords who live abroad but let property in the UK.  If your principal and primary residence is outside the UK it is important that you let your insurance provider know when purchasing a new policy or renewing existing cover, even if you have a UK postal address. You should also speak to your insurance provider if you have any questions about an existing policy. 

If you use a letting agent and live overseas we advise that you ask your agent to confirm in writing if their service will be affected by Brexit, this is particularly important if their service includes an insurance based element or they usually arrange insurance policies on your behalf."

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