Landlords Facing Fines
The Government’s latest proposals are to introduce a statutory obligation on landlords to check whether a prospective tenant is an illegal immigrant or not. Private landlords that fail to do so could be subject to fines up to £3000.
System used to check workers
The exact details of the proposed system of checking a prospective tenants immigration status has yet to be worked out, but Property Hawk understands it will be loosely modeled on the current system for checking eligibility to work in the UK.
However, there are complications with such an approach. Whilst the ability to work in the UK can be easily accessed as permission is evidenced by a series of permits; there could be any number of reasons why an individual could be residing in the UK, either temporarily or permanently. Their legality I would imagine is far harder to prove. As a layman I wouldn’t have a clue on what type of paper work would give any individual the legal right to reside would you?
Added bureaucratic steps
Without wishing to pre-judge the proposals that might emanate from the current 7 week consultation process; one can only imagine that the result will be more paperwork for landlords.
My overriding question is:
How do you spot an illegal immigrant?
I’m guessing that anybody whose entered a country illegally will not be wearing a large sign around their neck pronouncing it to the world. I’m sure that false paperwork is relatively easy and cheap to obtain. I’m certain that all responsible landlords would wish to abide by the law and do their best to assist any government in upholding the law of the land, however, what happens if landlords are duped by prospective tenants? Will they still be fined? What about if a landlord uses a letting agent, who does the responsibility pass to. As is often the case, the proposal for these changes might seem straightforward, but the reality is far from it. Yet again it appears that whatever happens it will be the landlord who incurs the extra time and expense of carrying out somebody else’s work.
Fines are a step too far
My biggest concern about these latest proposals to use landlords as Border Agency foot soldiers is that we get caught in the crossfire. The initial talk is of fines of up to £3000 for a repeat offence and £1000 for the first. Fining landlords for failing to carry out an administrative hurdle seems unfair and out of proportion. Property Hawk has set up our own campaign against potential fines for landlords who fail to carry out the necessary steps.
So join us in saying NO to landlords being fined for carrying out somebody else’s job & sign our petition!
Post your view on landlords being forced to make additional checks on prospective tenants?