As reported recently, the UK government has introduced “tough” new legislation to reform immigration law which they hope will crack down on those who are in the UK illegally. During the consultation, the Home Office proposed new requirements which would make it harder for illegal migrants to rent private accommodation. These requirements are modelled on the existing controls which apply to the employment of illegal workers which the government believes have been successful in reducing net migration by more than a third since June 2010.
Duty on UK Landlords Tackle Illegal Immigration
Once the Immigration Bill becomes law, landlords in the UK will be expected to check the immigration status of new tenants before taking them on. The government hope that these checks will prevent those with no right to live in the UK from accessing private rented accommodation.
If the landlord fails to carry out the requisite checks and the tenant does not have permission to live in the UK, the landlord will be liable for a fine. The amount of fine has not been set yet but is expected to be between £1000 and £3000.
Immigration Bill: New Requirements for UK Landlords
Landlords in the UK will be expected to:
- Check UK citizen’s UK passport, naturalisation certificate, right of abode certificate or adoption certificate. They will also need to check the prospective tenant’s national insurance or UK driving licence.
- Check a foreign nationals ID by checking either their Application Registration Card (ARC) if they are asylum seekers or take note of a Home Office letter of authorisation which is verified by the Home Office enquiry service;
- Make annual checks on individuals with limited leave to remain and may have to keep records of when that leave is expected to expire; and
- Store the information obtained from tenants for a minimum period (which will be stated in the new law) before disposing of it securely in accordance with the Data Protection Act.
Housing Minister Mark Prisk: Immigration Rules “Simple” for UK Landlords
Speaking on the government’s proposal’s at the time of the consultation, Housing Minister Mark Prisk said:
“’We are determined to root out the rogue landlords that exploit vulnerable people by charging extortionate rents to live in unsanitary and often dangerous conditions. The measures proposed today will do just that.
The rules will be simple to follow for law-abiding landlords, so they can continue to let high quality homes to their tenants. But there will be stiff penalties for those who flout the rules and continue to offer this poor housing to illegal migrants. And to help councils tackle the problem of slumlords head-on, we’re inviting them to bid for a share of £3million to help them investigate and prosecute cases in their areas.”