New immigration plans could lead to more Rogue Landlords

Immigration is quite a complex subject in England, especially as the housing crisis is leading to more and more people throughout the country struggling to find accommodation or even becoming homeless. The recent news that millions of people from Romania and Bulgaria will soon be legally allowed to immigrate to England has also raised even more concerns as some feel that public services in the country are already stretched beyond their means.

This is why David Cameron announced the other day that he plans to introduce stricter rules on immigration including restricting the amount of access immigrants can have to public services such as social housing. Under his new plans immigrants would have to have lived in the UK for two years before being able to join a housing register or receive benefits. However, there have been concerns that these new plans will lead to rogue landlords housing the most vulnerable families in poor quality homes, charging unfair amounts of rent, and not protecting their homes with landlord insurance.

A chairman for the Residential Landlords Association (RLA), Alan Ward, said: “These measures will put extra pressure on the private rented sector and provide opportunities for low-grade landlords and criminal elements to exploit immigrants. The RLA has been calling for councils to enforce the many regulations that already exist against criminal landlords, and the Government’s announcement will increase the need to prevent overcrowding and insanitary renting. Local authorities can already discharge their responsibilities for homelessness in the private rented sector, but where they choose to do so, they must ensure the properties are safe, legal and secure.”

Local authorities are already introducing stricter criteria for those wanting to join a housing register, such as Hammersmith and Fulham who have recently stated that they will no longer allow people to join its housing list unless they have lived in the area for five years. The council made this decision due to the fact that last year they had 10,300 on their housing list, but only managed to house 470. Discussing the decision, cabinet member for housing, Councillor Andrew Johnson said: “While we welcome migrants with open arms, this country should not be a soft touch for people who think they can simply rock up at our housing offices and demand a heavily subsidised house.”

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