Right to rent: Brexit deadline for changes to checks for citizens of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein approaching

10 May 2021

Changes to right to rent checks for citizens of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein are expected after 30 June 2021, according to current government guidance.

The current guidance for letting agents and landlords on conducting right to rent checks on citizens of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein is expected to change on 30 June 2021.

Under the current law in England, letting agents and landlords must check that all prospective tenants aged 18 and over can legally rent a residential property before starting a new tenancy.

Citizens from the EU, EEA and Switzerland can currently prove their right to rent by showing their passport or national identity card to their letting agent or landlord. The government has said that there will be no change to this guidance until 30 June 2021, noting that it is against the law to ask EU, EEA or Swiss citizens to show that they have settled status or pre-settled status when starting a new tenancy. Irish citizens will continue to have the right to rent in the UK and be able to prove their right to rent as they do now, for example using their passport.

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Currently, letting agents and landlords won’t need to check whether new EEA and Swiss tenants arrived before or after the UK left the EU, according to the guidance, or if they have status under the EU Settlement Scheme or European temporary leave to remain. There also won’t be any need to retrospectively check the status of EU, EEA or Swiss tenants or their family members who entered into a tenancy agreement before 1st January 2021.

In November 2020, the Home Office introduced an online right to rent check service that allows eligible tenants to prove their right to rent online. Currently, the Home Office online checking service supports checks for those who hold a biometric residence permit, a biometric residence card, or a status issued under the EU Settlement Scheme.

At the same time, the Home Office confirmed that nationals of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States with biometric passports (also known as “B5JSSK nationals”), who are allowed to enter the UK using ePassport gates, will be permitted to use a combination of their passport, plus evidence of entry to the UK to demonstrate a right to rent.

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Timothy Douglas, Propertymark Policy and Campaigns Manager, has suggested the next steps to take in the right to rent process, following the end of the Brexit transition period. "It's really important as we approach the end of the Brexit transition arrangements that letting agents can focus on getting to grips with the new system for all overseas nationals," he says. "This includes the new online Right to Rent service for those with a current Biometric Residence Permit or Biometric Residence Card or those granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme or the points-based immigration system."

It's important to note that this article isn't exhaustive and doesn't constitute legal advice. Check gov.uk for the latest Brexit advice.

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