Immigration Act – Around this time last year the Queen announced in her annual speech that the government had introduced a new Immigration Bill which would require landlords to vet all their potential tenants in order to make sure that they are in the country legally. Naturally, many landlords and industry experts were concerned over this new Bill, however it is still planned to go ahead October of this year. Here, PropertyQuoteDirect explains the purpose behind the Bill, why so many landlords are against it, and how it could affect your business:
Immigration in the UK
The issue of immigration has been discussed at length by most MPs and has caused some extremely heated arguments between political parties. Some believe that the amount of immigrants that the UK accepts each year should be reduced, while others claim that immigration benefits the country and the economy. Either way, immigration in the UK is at an all-time high and it is believed that we will see even more immigrants entering the country over the next few years. Unfortunately, not all immigrants are in the country legally though, and even though the government already has methods in place to detect illegal immigrants they are still struggling to control the amount entering the country. This is why they are looking for employers and now landlords to help by vetting individuals before agreeing to offer them work or let them a property.
The Issue of Rogue Landlords
Unfortunately there are a number of rogue landlords in the UK who have taken advantage of the fact that illegal immigrants often struggle when it comes to finding homes and therefore offer them ‘properties’ that are both unsuitable and illegal. Illegal immigrants generally struggle to secure bank accounts as well as long-term employment, which means that they generally find it hard to afford rent on properties. This has led to an epidemic of what are called ‘beds in sheds’ – garages or sheds that are unsuitable for people to live in that are rented out to immigrants (both legal and illegal). Beds in sheds generally don’t have the facilities required to make them legal to let including fire alarms and even cooking and bathroom facilities. Most of the rogue landlords who own these properties also don’t have any form of landlord insurance and let them fall into states of disrepair, however their tenants are unable to complain as they have nowhere else to go.
The Immigration Act 2014
Along with organising police raids on beds in sheds, the government has brought in the Immigration Act 2014 in order to prevent landlords from letting to illegal immigrants. Once the Act becomes official in October landlords will be required to vet their tenants in order to ensure that they are in the country legally. At the moment most landlords already perform background checks and references on potential tenants in order to make sure they are who they say they are and can realistically afford to live in their property. However, under the new laws these background checks will need to be much more expensive and landlords will need to learn new skills in order to properly determine whether someone is in the country legally.
One of the main reasons that landlords do not support the Immigration Act 2014 is because they claim they don’t have the proper skills to vet potential tenants. This means that they will have to spend their time learning how to properly vet tenants to ensure that they are in the country legally or pay someone else to do it for them. This also means that the process of finding a tenant for a property will now take longer as background checks will be more extensive, which could discourage landlords from investing in more properties. Landlords are also concerned with the fact that they could be fined up to one thousand pounds if they are found to not be vetting their potential tenants properly. Industry experts have also warned that the effects of the Immigration Act could lead to landlords increasing their rent prices, ultimately exacerbating the current housing crisis.
With just a few months to go until the Immigration Act 2014 becomes official it is likely we will see a number of industry experts and landlord groups providing more information on how you can protect your business. If you are concerned about the new Act make sure you discuss this with your local authority in order to gain more information.
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