This month, the Home Office announced that from October 2014 the immigration status of potential tenants will have to be checked by landlords and letting agents. If landlords fail to follow the new requirements which forms part of the Immigration bill, they could face a fine of up to £3000. Initially, the requirements that landlords have to meet will apply in just one area of the UK. The government will announce that area in September 2014.
85% of Illegal Migrants are Living in Private Rented Accommodations
Managing director at Landlord Assist, Graham Kinnear stated that he believes that the new immigration checks will place an unfair burden on landlords and letting agents.
“We are concerned that the new legislation will place unfair burden on landlords. Landlords or letting agents will not be familiar with Home Office documentation, passports for countries outside the EU and therefore could easily be presented with fake or falsified documents which they would be unable to differentiate from the originals.”
Despite the lack of enthusiasm, the legislation which is expected to become mandatory in 2015, is to stop rogue landlords letting substandard properties to low paid immigrants. There is an estimated 85% of illegal migrants living in private rented properties.
Research conducted by the Online Letting Agents found that 8 out 10 landlords in the UK feel that the Immigration legislation places too much responsibility on them. Approximately 43% of landlords are not confident that they will comply will the legislation, while 30% are said to be optimistic about the new checks.
Stephen Parry: Government should provide Guidance Notes to help Landlords
The UK Government plan to carry out a pilot scheme in two months. The location will be announced in the next few weeks. Stephen Parry, Commercial Director at Landlord Assist also voiced his concern, stating that landlords and letting agents do not have the skills or knowledge to follow the Government’s immigration policies:
“Without proper education and training it is not viable to expect landlords and letting agents to be able to robustly police the government’s immigration strategy. Agents already undertake identity checks on prospective tenants but to be able to decipher Home Office documentation or visa documents is probably a bridge too far. We accept that agents should make efforts in this respect but feel it is unfair that they can have such a significant financial penalty hanging over them in the event that something gets passed them,
He continued: It seems logical that if the government wish landlords and their agents to carry out a specific function that they should provide appropriate guidance notes on how to do so.”
Parry’s concerns spark from the fact that a recent report revealed that more than a third of landlords in the UK do not make checks at all on their prospective tenants.
Are you affected by the ‘Immigration Checks’?
Illegal migrants with strong Human Rights arguments ought to take legal advice and regularise their stay in the UK as soon as possible and before it is too late. If you have received correspondence from Capita, it is advisable that you seek immediate legal advice before enforcement action is taken against you by the Home Office.
Contact us to discuss your immigration situation and we will assess your case and provide you with options of regularising your stay.