The government has announced plans to further digitise identity checks to support employers and landlords with right to work, Right To Rent and pre-employment DBS checks. Updated technology and legislation will go live from 6th April, 2022.
From 6th April, letting agents will be able to carry out identity checks on tenants and landlords via a certified Identity Service Providers (IDSPs) using Identification Document Validation Technology (IDVT).
What is IDVT (and how does it work)?
IDVT is a type of technology that allows for fast, secure verification of documents presented for identity verification purposes, including passports, biometric residence permits, driving licences and identity cards.
IDVT plays an important role in preventing tenancy fraud, as they can offer greater accuracy and assurance than manual checking of documents.
Since 2020, letting agents and landlords have been able to carry out online some Right To Rent checks limited to:
There is currently no online system to verify the Right To Rent of other tenants, including British and Irish citizens.
By introducing the use of IDVT the Home Office hopes it will enhance the security and integrity of these checks.
A recent survey of 2,000 British people showed that 76% of them would be comfortable having some of their data incorporated into a digital ID, which suggests it will provide a solution that the majority of tenants would welcome sharing some of their data if it meant tenant checks could be completed digitally.
The launch of these technologies will support post-pandemic working practices, which have already accelerated the digitalisation of other areas of the lettings process in the UK.
How will the new changes affect the lettings process?
The proposed changes should benefit tenants and landlords alike, with remote checks proving popular for both parties.
The lettings application process will become easier, faster, and more secure – especially as agents are increasingly concerned about rising tenancy fraud.
Meanwhile, it represents another move into making the private rented sector a more digital space, following the rise of more modern technology such as open banking.
When will the use of IDVT become mandatory for Right To Rent checks?
The government have recently announced that applicants and landlords can continue to conduct Right To Rent checks remotely, e.g. via video calls, instead of meeting face-to-face until 30th September 2022, independent of April’s new legislation.
The government said the delay will give letting agents and landlords “sufficient time to develop commercial relationships with identity service providers, make the necessary changes to their pre-tenancy checking processes and carry out responsible on-boarding of their chosen provider”, and put “measures in place to enable face to face document checks if they do not wish to adopt digital checks for British and Irish citizens with a valid passport (or Irish passport card).”
The guidance does however reinforce checks must continue to be completed and reminds letting agents and landlords that it is an offence to knowingly let a property to someone who does not have the Right To Rent in England.