Landlords in England who repeatedly fail to check a new tenant’s immigration status before agreeing a lease could face up to five years in jail, it has been confirmed.
As part of a wider crackdown on immigration, new rules for landlords mean that they will also be expected to evict tenants who lose the right to live in England.
They will be able to end tenancies, sometimes without a court order, when asylum requests fail, according to Communities Secretary Greg Clark as he announced that the government will not tolerate rogue landlords who make money out of illegal immigration.
The changes which hare part of the new Immigration Bill and follow a pilot in the West Midlands come as the British and French governments struggle to deal with a migrant crisis in Calais where large numbers of people are making nightly bids to cross the Channel to reach the UK.
Clark explained that under the proposals for landlords in England, the Home Office would issue a notice when an asylum application fails that confirms the tenant no longer has the right to rent listing.
He also said that a blacklist of rogue landlords and letting agents will be created to allow councils to keep track of those who have been convicted of housing offences and ban them from renting out listings if they are repeat offenders.
Richard Lambert, chief executive of the National Landlords Association, described the proposals as a welcome step forward, although he said he is ‘slightly concerned’ that the 40 year old principle that it has to be a court that ends a tenancy is changing.
He suggests that there is a danger that those being evicted end up doing something desperate such as barricading themselves inside a listing. ‘I think that we need to think through the consequences of the kind of systems we are putting into place,’ he added.
David Cox, managing director, Association of Residential Letting Agents, welcomed the proposals in principle. ‘The plans will help to weed out the minority of rogue landlords who exploit vulnerable immigrants for their own financial gain and, with the introduction of a new five year imprisonment penalty, will help to deter other such unscrupulous individuals from entering the private rented sector,’ he said.
‘The proposals also build upon the Right to Rent checks as imposed by the Immigration Act 2014, which we expect to be rolled out nationally following a pilot scheme in the West Midlands. We will be organising training sessions for our members to ensure they are fully prepared and understand the new rules and we urge all letting agents to ensure they are ready for the impending roll out,’ he added.
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Source: Property News Spain