Government Set To Backtrack On Landlords Conducting Immigration Checks

Government Set To Backtrack On Landlords Conducting Immigration Checks

Bill forcing landlords to check Immigration status of tenants
will be watered down

As previously reported on Spotlight the Government proposals for landlords to check the immigration status of all tenants, has already caused a great deal of outrage from all sectors.

Government ministers look likely to perform the expected U-turn and backtrack on the proposal that would require landlords to verify the immigration status of their tenants.

Prime Minister, David Cameron is reported to have been livid when he was told that the proposed new legislation would have to be watered down.

According to a report in the Daily Telegraph, the legislation that is set to become part of a the new Immigration Bill, will not be rolled out nationally, instead, only landlords in certain parts of the UK will be forced to carry out immigration checks and the newspaper named some boroughs in West London would where landlords would be at the forefront of policing the immigration requirements.

Communities and Local Government (CLG) secretary, Eric Pickles, is reported to think that a mandatory requirement for all UK landlords would involve a great deal of additional red tape, and the resulting extra costs would end up being paid for by tenants.

A Government source said: “It is just making sure implementation is done in a commonsense way. We want to do it in a way that does not inflict red tape on millions of people. What we want to avoid is disproportionate regulations on the private rented sector. If you are British we don’t want a bureaucratic check, the cost of which is passed on to the landlord and then the tenants. It is a question of getting the balance right and targeting the regulations at high-risk areas and not to over-regulate the whole market.”

The proposed legislation to check the immigration status of tenants was outlined in the Queen’s Speech, last month, however, some pundits suggest that details of the bill had not been properly thought through.

There has been outrage from private sector landlords and landlord associations over claims that the ridiculous proposal would be totally unworkable because the only way a landlord could verify the immigrant status of tenant’s would be to request verification from the UK Border Agency, making all UK landlords unpaid minions of the Government burdened with the prospect of penalisation if they fail to comply.

Critics reckon that the UK Border Agency is not up to the job, hence the government proposal requiring the assistance of UK PRS and social landlords to act as unpaid front line staff expected to police the immigrant population.

A Department for Communities and Local Government spokesman said: “The Government will avoid burdening the private rented sector (PRS) with excessive red tape and will not adversely affect UK nationals looking to rent.”

Even watering down the government proposal the new legislation may still require landlords to act as unpaid members of the UK Border Agency, but, it is still not clear how the Government could introduce new legislation which would only be enforceable in certain areas, without running into problems such as changing demographics and accusations of racial discrimination.

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