On 29thJune the Home Office published an updated short guide on Right to Rent checks for landlords, agents and tenants. This does not replace the main code of practice but is intended to be a more accsssible document than the full code.
Right to Rent (RtR) checks are carried out by landlords or agents renting out a property to ensure that the prospective tenant has a RtR. Where RtR checks are not carried out the landlord or agent could face a civil penalty.
Many of our readers will be familiar with the requirement to carry out RtR checks so they may well be wondering what, if anything, is new in this guidance. Some of the noticeable changes are:
- The format of the guidance is much easier to read with useful links available to any additional documents;
- The document includes a paragraph on discrimination and also provides a link to the October 2014 code of practice on avoiding discrimination;
- The guidance includes a paragraph on the ‘Windrush generation’ which mirrors the urgent guidance issued on the same matter in May;
- The last guidance document was published in February 2016 and limited civil penalties to £3,000 per tenant. This guidance document has no such limitation and details what a person’s appeal rights are if they face a penalty as well as enforcement.
The updated guidance document is some 17 pages and is much easier to follow than the main code. However, it appears to largely mirror what has been stated previously which will no doubt be a relief to those that are required to carry out these checks on a regular basis. However, it is also important to ensure that those carrying out the checks are familiar with the requirements and up to date on any new Home Office guidance no matter how small the changes. There has been a great deal of criticism of the Right to Rent recently which has lead to questions in Parliament. The government has committed itself to re-establishing the cross-sector working group and these minor tweaks should probably be seen as an encouraging sign that the Right to Rent remains a work in progress that the Home Office is prepared to try to improve.