Anyone without the right to live in the UK will find it increasingly difficult renting property, as new measures are put forward under a fresh Immigration Bill. The measures will also see the government crackdown on rogue landlords who exploit the vulnerable.
Communities Secretary, Greg Clark explains:
“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 2014, legislation was introduced that saw almost 36,000 immigration offenders removed from the UK and the new provisions to be introduced by the forthcoming Immigration Bill are set to go even further and restrict renting property.
Evicting illegal immigrants
The bill will enable landlords to evict illegal immigrants with more ease, allowing them to end a tenancy when a person’s leave to remain in the UK expires. In some cases this will be allowed without the requirement of a court order. The process will begin with a notice from the Home Office confirming the occupant no longer has the right to live in the UK. It is then expected that the landlord takes the appropriate course of action to ensure the tenant leaves the property.
After a successful pilot run in the West Midlands, there are plans to extend “Right to Rent” (yes, another scheme under the seemingly inexorably expanding ‘right to’ group of schemes) checks across England. These will allow landlords to check their tenants’ immigration status before offering them a tenancy agreement.
Punishing Offending Landlords
A new criminal offence will be introduced which targets landlords and agents that repeatedly fail to conduct the “right to rent” checks or fail to take steps to remove illegal immigrants from their property. Any landlords that commit these offences could face up to 5 years imprisonment and sanctions under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
To help councils focus their enforcement on where it is most needed, a blacklist of persistent rogue landlords and estate agents will also be created.
The forthcoming legislation will also see a number of other measures introduced including a tougher fit and proper person test for landlords, the extension of Rent Repayment Orders and the ability for local councils to issue penalty notices for certain civil offences.
Permitting the sharing of Tenancy Deposit Protection data and enabling landlords to recover abandoned properties without the need to go to court, will also come into force when the new legislation is introduced.
The introduction of these new measures could quite possibly be a major step forward in reducing the numbers of illegal immigrants in the country. However, with the ongoing issues in Kent and Calais, does the bigger problem lie elsewhere?