Legislation changes in the lettings industry: April 2022

Legislation changes in the lettings industry: April 2022

With a number of legislation changes set to come into effect in the next few months, we have put an overview of them together to ensure you remain in the know with all of these upcoming changes:

Right to Rent Checks

From 6 April 2022, lettings agents must do one of the following options to establish an excuse against a civil penalty:

  • Hard copy (manual) Right to Rent check
  • Right to Rent check using Identity Document Validation Technology (IDVT) via the services of an Identity Service Provider (IDSP)
  • or a Home Office online Right to Rent check

The adjusted checks that were introduced COVID-19 have been extended until 30 September 2022, therefore, ‘hard copy checks’ can be conducted by video call, holding the accepted form of identification up to the camera next to the applicant’s face. From October on, hard copy checks will return, requiring agents to see the applicant in person with their identification.

Alternatively, following the end of the adjusted checks, digital checks on UK and Irish nationals will be permitted through identity service providers who will provide this in exchange for a fee.

Agents must not discriminate against those who choose not to prove their identity in this way. In-person checks must be available if preferred. Additionally, the Home Office assures the sector that there are currently no plans to remove the option for agents to conduct in-person, hard copy checks.

For more information on the changes to the Right to Rent Checks, visit this link: www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-landlord-right-to-rent-checks

Biometric Residence Permits and Cards

Also from 6 April 2022, overseas nationals holding biometric residence permits and biometric residence cards will no longer be able to demonstrate their status using the hard copy document. Those affected should have n immigration status and be able to generate a share code with which they can offer to complete the checks, in combination with their Date of Birth. This facility remains free of charge.

It remains the case that there are three steps to establishing and maintaining a statutory excuse against liability for a civil penalty.

  1. Conduct an initial Right to Rent check of occupation (the advance period is limited to 28 days if the ID only allows time-limited Right to Rent)
  2. Schedule a follow-up check if the initial check dictates a time-limited right to rent
  3. Make a report to the Home Office if follow-up checks indicate that an occupier no longer has the Right to Rent
  4. Agents should ensure that they are up to date on accepted documents in List A (Groups 1 and 2) and List B, following changes made to remove identification evidencing EU and EEA nationality, as of July 2021

For more information on the Biometric Residence Permits and Cards, visit this link: www.gov.uk/biometric-residence-permits

Liverpool Selective Licencing Scheme

From April 1 2022, a new selective licencing scheme in Liverpool which covers 16 of the city’s wards will come into play. Properties within the 16 wards will require a licence that will last for a period of 5 years in order to remain compliant. Without this licence, Landlords are susceptible to fines of unlimited amounts by Liverpool City Council and lettings agents will be unable to market a property without a licence.

Fees are paid in two parts. The first payment, which is an administration charge, is taken when you submit your application, and the second payment will be requested once Liverpool City Council are ready to grant you your licence and carry out compliance checks to ensure you meet the licence conditions.

There are discounted rates and early bird discounts available, so get in touch with your letting agent to discuss the options available to you.

For more information on the Liverpool Selective Licencing Scheme, visit this link: liverpool.gov.uk/business/licences-and-permits/landlord-licensing/selective-licensing-scheme/

If you have any questions about the upcoming legislation changes in the industry, feel free to get in touch with your local Intus branch and a member of our team will be more than happy to help with your query.

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