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Changes to Right to Rent Highlight Increasing Need for Automation

Changes to Right to Rent that will affect landlords and letting agents have already happened with further ones fast approaching. Openview – Powered by VTUK urge that, with the use of automation, other parts of businesses can be simplified and this will ensure Right to Rent changes will not impact the smooth-running of companies.

The UK government ended all restrictions imposed to diminish the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on Monday July 19 2021, with the return of face-to-face Right to Rent checks for tenants set to resume shortly after this date.

Since the onset of the pandemic, landlords and letting agents have carried out Right to Rent checks by video call in accordance with government Covid-19 guidelines. At the end of August, the process is no longer set to take place by video call, while scanned or photographed documents will no longer be required either because these checks will be carried out face-to-face once more.

Landlords and letting agents value simplicity 

Despite being a temporary measure that was implemented to work around Covid-19 government guidelines, Openview says the changes to Right to Rent have highlighted the increasing need for automation 

Peter Grant, chairman and chief executive at Openview, says: “The temporary video and online measure has been a success in the property industry. As far as we know, there were no breaches and many even prefer this method of conducting essential checks, proving the demand for simpler processes is there.”

He adds: “We suggest other areas of agency are automated to make business far simpler. If the mere introduction of video and scanned documents was this much of a success with Right to Rent checks, just think of all the different ways automation can improve the other areas of an agency business.”

Grant argues that, in terms of the Right to Rent changes, a device with a camera and WiFi is all that was required to conducts these checks online.

“Here at Openview we solely focus on software and great customer service, which is custom-built for the needs of agents and landlords. The reliance on one system that does exactly what it says on the tin and can be accessed wherever you have internet is all that is needed to be in control of your business. These video checks have given many a taste of how simple work could be.”

Move past the Right to Rent backlog  

Hundreds of thousands of people could still be waiting in a backlog of the UK’s EU Settlement Scheme, unsure of their status and their Right to Rent in the UK.

EU residents had a six-month grace period to apply for settled status after the end of the Brexit transition period on January 1 2021. Those who have not already applied, or who are stuck in the system, could lose essential rights including the right to rental accommodation.

The possibility of this happening with hundreds of thousands of people across the UK causes concern because it could cause major problems for landlords and agents when it comes to checking the legal rights of tenants to rent.

Yet automating other processes in the meantime will better prepare many tenants, landlords, and agents for this inevitable build-up, claims Openview.

Time saved on administration, with the use of automation, could provide agents with more opportunities to focus on alternative revenue streams and business growth.

Grant adds: “Automated processes help better manage time. With the Right to Rent measures changing and an expected backlog, agents must have everything in place to make the process much smoother and to ensure they do not slow down any areas of their business. We all know these things have a domino effect. One delay causes another, but it can be avoided with automation.”

The fines for non-compliance with Right to Rent can be severe. If checks set out in the code of practice have not been conducted, sanctions could be faced. These include a civil penalty of up to £3,000 per disqualified person and a criminal conviction.

Openview says that automating other processes will lift the burden of worry about non-compliance because it will put landlords and letting agents in control. Specific software solutions for agents and landlords could make forgetting to carry out essential tasks a thing of the past.

Grant concludes: “To take the pressure off landlords, agents, and tenants the government needto embrace automation and tech solutions more in the future. The inclusion of technology, though only temporary, with Right to Rent checks shows the tools are available to increase accuracy and efficiency. All we need to do is make use of them.”