Landlords told to vet immigrant tenants

Queens Speech

Queens Speech

Under new Immigration laws, that were announced in the Queens Speech, private landlords will now be held legally responsible for vetting tenants and checking their immigration status. Landlords will need to seek copies of passports and appropriate visas before they should let their property to a prospective tenant.

Those that are found to have broken the law will find themselves facing fines that could run into thousands of pounds.

Young London, the letting and management business of Private Rented Sector advisers, Young Group, sees this is a positive move in enforcing what has been industry best practice for many years. Ensuring that tenants are legally allowed to remain within the country protects landlords from loss of earnings from tenants who could be deported or might leave part way through a tenancy.

Neil Young, chief executive of Young Group and Young London, adds “All agencies have a duty of care to provide their landlord clients with the best possible service.  In my view this duty of care has always extended to confirming the identity and immigration status of all prospective tenants.”

There was a mixed reaction from within the industry after the announcement.  Stephen Thornton, director of external affairs at the RICS, said: “…it is unacceptable that it (The Government) expects the property industry to deliver its immigration policy.” 

However, following the announcement was made there was a mixed reaction from various industry bodies.  Stephen Thornton, director of external affairs at the RICS, said: “…it is unacceptable that it (The Government) expects the property industry to deliver its immigration policy.” 

Although there was support for the new law with Caroline Kenny, executive of UKALA (United Kingdom Association of Letting Agents), stating she was in favour of the move, “This is a logical step and one that will be positively received by the industry, demonstrating better regulation within the Private Rented Sector.”

Time will tell whether the policy will positively impact immigration policy but for those of us within the industry whom have been adopting the new guidelines as best practise for some time, it will just be business as usual.

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