So far there have been numerous landlord and letting agent associations that have criticised the new Immigration Bill which states that it will now be a landlords’ responsibility to make sure all their tenants are in the UK legally. Many have had concerns over how the plan will work, and others are saying that it is unfair for the government to make landlords spend their own time and money doing a job that they believe is the government’s responsibility.
Now, Ellie Garbett, director of the Habitat Lettings agency in Broseley, Shropshire has said that she believes the government is making a huge mistake, and added: “There are a minority of private landlords who exploit illegal immigrants by charging them premium rents, often for very poor properties. Anything that can prevent this practice has to be welcomed. However, the vast majority of private landlords want to act responsibility and already do what they can to check the background of prospective tenants before allowing them to rent a property.”
“My concern with this proposal to make it a legal requirement to carry out these checks is that private landlords will feel this is an unfair additional burden. The additional step of making landlords legally liable for checking the immigration status of prospective tenants, with the complexity of immigration law and the potential for providing forged documents, presents serious implications for the private rented sector. We will have to see how the detail of the legislation is shaped, but we would not want the law to unfairly penalise the vast majority of private landlords who seek to act responsibly in managing their properties.”
There are also concerns that the new plans will lead to less people entering the private rented sector, which will ultimately worsen the housing crisis and lead to even more rogue landlords taking advantage of those who are desperate to find a property. Landlord insurance providers are also understandably concerned with the plans due to the fact that it means their clients are more likely to encounter legal troubles, which the provider will have to help cover the costs for.
Since the announcement of the government’s plans the other week it seems as though there are very few supporters, and even fewer who believe that it will benefit the private rented sector. Even though illegal immigration is currently a huge problem in the UK, having inexperienced landlords try to tackle it seems like the wrong choice.