A possible backlog of Right To Rent checks created by new Home Office rules could be alleviated by inventory clerks.
Since March, a temporary system has been in place allowing landlords and agents to conduct Right to Rent checks remotely.
However, the Home Office has stated that within eight weeks of the temporary measures being lifted - expected when the pandemic eases early next year - landlords and agents must carry out full in-person retrospective checks on tenants who started their tenancy during the crisis.
ARLA Propertymark, acting on behalf of letting agents, has warned the Home Office that the sheer scale of work required to complete retrospective checks within the eight-week timeframe will be impossible.
"We fully support ARLA Propertymark's view. However, if retrospective checks are required as currently proposed, our inventory clerks can help landlords and agents to handle the additional work" says Nick Lyons, chief executive of the 65-office No Letting Go, the UK's largest provider of inventory services.
"Our clerks have experience of carrying out Right to Rent checks as many of them conducted them on behalf of agents and landlords when compiling inventory check-ins during the spring lockdown” he continues.
Right To Rent has remained a controversial and time consuming job for landlords but No Letting Go says inventory clerks can carry out immigration checks provided they have the name of each tenant plus the type of ID to be inspected.
The inventory clerk is then able to ensure the ID matches the landlord's records and subsequently take photographic evidence of the ID and renter.
"Providing this service during routine property visits allows us to help agents and landlords stay on top of their compliance obligations. Going forward, renters may be reluctant to go back to agents' offices, so it makes sense to complete Right to Rent checks in-person when conducting a property visit” adds Lyons.
In detail, he says the inventory clerk would carry out the property visit as normal, checking the ID of all tenants aged 18 or over. They will take a note of all people living at the property, whether or not they are listed on the tenancy agreement, and ascertain who needs to be verified.
The clerk will then ask each renter if they can take a photograph of them to ensure they show a true likeness to the ID provided. All photographs and documentation is added to the relevant documentation and uploaded into the back-office system.
"There are a range of changes to the Right to Rent scheme in the pipeline which, alongside the introduction of retrospective checks, could put significant pressure on landlords over the coming months" Lyons adds.
"Property professionals will also be managing the overall impact of the pandemic and continually growing workloads, so any help they can get from partners such as inventory clerks to ensure they meet their compliance obligations could be invaluable" he concludes.