Landlords Face £3000 Fines
For Letting To Illegal Immigrants
Private rental sector landlords will be risking a fine of £3000 for breaking the law by letting rental property to illegal immigrants without doing proper background checks and comprehensive tenant referencing.
The proposal is currently undergoing a seven week consultation process and set to become part of the forthcoming Immigration Bill, launched by Immigration Minister, Mark Harper.
Under the proposed new legislation, illegal immigrants will not be entitled to free NHS treatment and will be prohibited from renting property in the UK.
Mr Harper said: “The consultation seeks views on the creation of a duty to require landlords to conduct immigration status checks on tenants before providing residential accommodation, with financial penalties for those landlords who let property to illegal migrants having failed to conduct the necessary checks. The landlord checking proposal is modelled on the existing civil penalty scheme for employers of illegal migrant workers.”
The proposals have been greeted with a very mixed reception by private landlords and Landlord Associations.
Richard Lambert, chief executive officer of the National Landlords Association (NLA), said: “The NLA welcomes the Government’s consultation on its plans to require private landlords to check the immigration status of all new tenants. If this is to work, it is vital that the system is simple, straightforward and easy for landlords to use and understand. It makes sense to base the requirements on the established system used by employers to verify that individuals have the right to work in the UK, not least because there is a clear acknowledgement that employers, like landlords, are not immigration experts. They can only be expected to carry out reasonable checks that someone is who they say they are, and that they have the documentation to prove they have the right to be here.”
However, the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) said that 82% of private sector landlords do not support the proposals to compel them to carry out immigration checks.
The RLA reckon that the proposal will penalise those legally allowed to stay in the country as rents will rise because letting agents will increase fees to cover the costs of further background checks on tenants”.
RLA chairman, Alan Ward said: “The private rented sector is already creaking under the weight of red tape, so it is little wonder that landlords are so clearly opposed to this flagship Government measure. Whilst the RLA fully supports measures to ensure everyone in the UK is legally allowed to be here, this proposal smacks of political posturing rather than a seriously thought through policy. For a Government committed to reducing the burden of regulation, it is ironic that they are now seeking to impose a significant extra burden on landlords, making them scapegoats for the UK Border Agency’s failings.”
David Lawrence, a private sector landlord from Salford spoke to MyPropertyPowerTeam about the new immigration vetting proposals stating “It is unfair that private sector landlords have to become unpaid agents for the UK Border Agency, we are already having to comply with hundreds of legal requirements in order to run an honest property rental business, without further encroachment on our time and without access to the proper resources that we are going to need in order to comply with this new proposal, its ridiculous and hasn’t been thought through at all”.
Sim Sekhon, spokesman for specialist landlord and letting agent service provider, Legal 4 Landlords stated “The immigration proposals will become another legal burden for landlords, however, our comprehensive tenant referencing does provide all the relevant information that landlords require in order to comply with the proposed legislative changes and continue operating a rental property business”
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