Following the recent announcement from the Home Office that from 1st February 2016, the Right to Rent scheme will be extended across England, and several industry press articles, Christopher Hamer, the Property Ombudsman, has issued a warning to agents about their responsibilities under the new checks.
In legal terms, the Right to Rent scheme states that the responsibility of checking a tenants identity document lies with the landlord as the person who gives permission for letting out their property in return for rent. However, the Ombudsman has warned agents that the liability can be transferred over to the letting agent by written agreement and the agent will do Right to Rent checks on behalf of the landlord.
Mr Hamer said: “Agents need to be very precise with the landlord from the outset as to what responsibilities they are taking on in regard to the Right to Rent checks. If the landlord wants the agent to undertake the necessary legal checks, then there must be clear and unambiguous documentation between the parties stating who has taken responsibility, and agents must diligently exercise their duties.”