Immigration Bill Concerns Highlighted To Government
The UK Association of Letting Agents (UKLA) has voiced some serious concerns over the introduction of the Government’s new Immigration Bill.
The concerns were raised by UKALA Executive Caroline Kenny to Parliament’s Public Bill Committee after the UKLA were called to give evidence on behalf of letting agents.
Ms Kenny used the opportunity to bring letting agents’ doubts over the enforcement and responsibilities of the proposals to the immigration minister’s attention highlighting the UKLA’s concerns over restricting access to all but low risk tenants.
The UKLA were asked to give evidence to the Public Bill Committee following lengthy discussions with the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and the Home Office.
Speaking after the evidence session, Caroline Kenny commented, “Whilst letting agents are well equipped to carry our checks, and do so on behalf of landlord clients every day, the legal requirement to periodically monitor and report on the immigration status of tenants could affect their ability to conduct business and the safety of their staff. UKALA is deeply concerned that the Bill’s requirements will further restrict access to housing for people from outside of the UK, or with non-standard requirements. Many areas of the UK have very competitive lettings markets and it is entirely conceivable that landlords will instruct agents to favour those tenants they perceive as ‘low risk’. UKALA agrees that landlords and letting agents should act responsibly to ensure that only tenants with the proper permission to reside in the UK are granted new private tenancies. However, we believe it is not appropriate to make housing professionals responsible for policing country’s borders.”
The views shared by many UK landlords with rental portfolios within the private rented sector are more defined, they don’t want the added responsibility of having to carry out these checks on tenants immigration status, they are in the business of renting out property to tenants that can afford the rent, not being unpaid agents of the UK Border Agency performing personal vetting services.
Tenant referencing services are going to become a vital mainstay of all UK PRS landlords’ operational procedures if they are to stay within the confines of the Government new proposals, this creates business opportunities for service providers.
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