Under new plans to crackdown on illegal immigration, the government have announced (August 3) that Landlords renting to illegal immigrants will face up to five years in prison.
Targeting both illegal immigrants and landlords – who house migrants in inhuman living conditions – the plans aim to lower the number of migrants living in the UK when they have no right to do so. As well as lowering the number of illegal immigrants, the move also aims to lower the amount of ‘rogue landlords’ by blacklisting and eventually banning landlords (and letting agents) who continually fail to meet letting standards.
Legally landlords are required to check the legal status of a tenant before offering them an agreement, failing to do so could lead to penalties of up to £3,000 per night, per adult. The law, which was passed last year, was initially introduced in the West Midlands and has now been rolled out throughout England. Landlords who fail to remove illegal immigrants, or run “right to rent” tests could find themselves guilty of committing a criminal offence, which is set to be included in the Immigration Bill. The Bill will be debated in parliament at some point this autumn. Under the Proceeds of Crime Act, repeat offenders could end up being fined, as well as facing confiscation of rent payments and up to five years imprisonment.
Communities Secretary Greg Clark has explained, “We are determined to crack down on rogue landlords who make money out of illegal immigration – exploiting vulnerable people and undermining our immigration system. In future, landlords will be required to ensure that the people they rent their properties to are legally entitled to be in the country. We will also require them to meet their basic responsibilities as landlords, cracking down on those who rent out dangerous, dirty and overcrowded properties.”
The new law would only apply in England, and would enable landlords to evict illegal immigrants far more quickly. Landlords would be able to almost instantaneously evict a person once their right to remain in the country expires (in certain cases a court order would not be necessary).
Some fear that this new law could create a dangerous situation for legal migrants, with the National Landlords Association warning that immigration checks would make property owners more inclined to rent exclusively to white British people, further explaining that the law could leave foreigners vulnerable and force them into the “underclass of rogue operators”. The UK Association of Letting Agents second the opinion that such checks could leave migrants vulnerable, and have explained that although their members do carry out these checks, it is not the responsibility of housing professionals to police England’s borders.
Becky A @Bex18W