The Right to Rent check is changing

manual vs digital onboarding illustration. The manual side is just showing a number of paper documents being checked in person, the other graphic is showing the documents being automatically checked digitally.

With the Digital Identity and Attributes Trust Framework (UKDIATF), the UK Government aims to introduce changes to make it easier and more secure for people to use services that enable them to prove their identity. The framework is part of a project to create a digital ID process that can be used as an alternative to physical ID such as passports or bank statements.

It will sit across industries, impacting right to work, right to rent, criminal record checks, anti-money laundering as well as other processes involving identity verification.

Following the positive feedback received about the ability to conduct right to rent checks remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK government has announced that agents and landlords will be able to use certified Identification Document Validation Technology (IDVT) providers to check the right to rent of British and Irish citizens digitally.

How and when is it changing?

Traditionally, the right to rent checks were done manually by agents and landlords wherein they checked the applicant’s original identity documents to confirm their right to stay in the UK and to rent, in the presence of the applicant

While checking, the agent/landlord assessed the authenticity of the documents, made sure that the applicant’s identity matched the document and that their immigration leave to remain had not expired. They are also required to make copies of all original documents, repeat this if and when the applicant’s visa expires and keep records of the check for at least a year after the tenancy ends.

Since 30th March 2020, temporary Covid-19 adjusted measures have been in place which involve the right to rent checks being conducted on video call and the applicant providing scanned or photographed versions of the relevant documents via email or mobile app.

Originally, these temporary measures were due to end on 5th April 2022 but the government has extended them until 30th September 2022, after which digital checks on UK and Irish citizens will only be permitted through certified identity service providers using Identification Document Validation Technology.

What is IDVT

Identity document validation technology is a specialist technology to support a system of digital checks to prove an individual’s right to work, right to rent and assess their criminal records. IDVT will allow UK and Irish citizens to prove their identity digitally for the purposes of renting or buying property. It will enable people to upload images of their personal documents securely, instead of presenting physical documents, thus reducing time and mitigating risk.

What do Estate and Letting Agents need to know?

From October onwards, estate and letting agents will have to use a certified identity service provider (IDSP) which uses identification document validation technology, to digitally check the right to rent of British and Irish citizens. These certified providers will verify the tenants’ identity remotely and prove their eligibility to rent. 

As part of this, digital identity providers such as Amiqus are required to go through an accreditation process to become certified against the UK digital ID trust standard.

By using a certified provider, agents can be assured that the processes in place are robust, and protect their business.

The deadline for the implementation has been extended from April to September, to give estate and letting agents time to establish commercial relationships with certified providers, complete the onboarding process and iron out all the processes so that they are ready to implement the right to rent checks digitally before the deadline ends on 30th September 2022. Firms should begin investigating which accredited provider will work best for them now, so that their processes are up and running efficiently ahead of the deadline. 

How can Amiqus help?

Amiqus has been engaging with government teams and sector regulators across the UK over the last two years, and is currently undergoing the accreditation process to become a certified digital identity service provider. 

By using Amiqus to conduct right to rent check, agents and landlords can:

  • Save time, effort and money – Instead of spending days trying to manually chase and gather documentation, the identity of tenants and their eligibility to rent or buy property will be verified online, in minutes.
  • Increase security and lower risk – Penalties for non-compliance of right to rent checks can be severe, with offenders liable for either a prison sentence of up to 5 years or an unlimited fine. Digital checks will reduce the risk of fraud considerably as compared to manual checks and will ensure thorough verification and authentication of documents submitted.
  • Emerge as a technological leader – As a result of Covid lockdowns, clients expect a fully remote process. They want to engage with people and organisations who are forward thinking. By offering digital checks which are completely remote, you will make the process more convenient for your tenants and clients, thus enhancing their experience. Regardless of what your organisation chooses to do, this framework is not going away and if you’re not a part of the digital ecosystem that will be created as a result of this, you will be left behind.

At Amiqus, we have been working with several lettings and property businesses to simplify their Right to Rent checks. This is what one of our clients, Umega Lettings, has to say:

“Amiqus has made the process of running checks so simple and efficient, not to mention all the paper they’ve helped us save too. Checks are processed rapidly and the data is safely stored in one place so we don’t need to worry about filing.”

To find out more about how Amiqus can help you carry out Right to Rent checks on your clients/tenants, kindly get in touch with us on [email protected].

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