Landlords warned to take threat of fines over immigration seriously
May 17, 2013
Included in the Queen’s Speech were new rules that will make it mandatory for landlords, or their agents, to check the immigration status of every tenant that they rent to. If they fail to do this and let to tenants who are living illegally in this country then they could face heavy fines.
Property law specialists are advising landlords that the threat of fines should not be taken lightly. A similar set of rules were introduced four years ago to attempt to curb the number of illegal workers employed in the UK. These rules resulted in the UK Border Agency issuing nearly 7,000 notifications of liability and collecting in the region of £65m in fines.
With there being nearly two million private landlords it is not unlikely that a number of them will be approached by illegal residents and those that are not careful could end up paying for their lack of vigilance.
While many landlords have stringent checks in place to see if a tenant can afford to live in a property, few will conduct checks to see if a tenant can actually legally live in the UK. Though this is something that Young London has been doing as best practice for a number of years to safeguard the landlords investment.
Currently the rules have yet to be put into law, which means that there is an unsurety if checks will be retrospective. This new law will add to the already administrative and legislative burden that Private Rented Sector landlords face which is why, those that do not already carry out such checks, should prepare to start doing them as soon as possible.
The old adage “It is better to be safe than sorry…” rings true for this situation.