Landlords Renting to Immigrants Come Under Spotlight

With the launch of two consultations on reforms to immigration legislation, landlords have found themselves coming under the spotlight. Under the proposals it will become harder for illegal migrants to live in the UK unlawfully...

With the launch of two consultations on reforms to immigration legislation, landlords have found themselves coming under the spotlight. Under the proposals it will become harder for illegal migrants to live in the UK unlawfully and changes to private renting processes will be made. A new requirement on landlords will be created to conduct immigration checks on tenants. Those that provide rented accommodation to illegal non-EEA migrants will face penalties.

The reforms will be modelled on existing controls that apply to the employment of illegal workers and will help to protect foreign tenants as well as ensuring migrants pay the same taxes of UK citizens. Housing minister Mark Prisk said: "We are determined to root out the rogue landlords that exploit vulnerable people by charging extortionate rents to live in unsanitary and often dangerous conditions. The measures proposed today will do just that. The rules will be simple to follow for law-abiding landlords, so they can continue to let high quality homes to their tenants."

Councils will also be able to bid for a share of GBP 3 million to investigate and prosecute cases of slum landlords in their area. This is hoped to help create a fairer system and "address the public's concern about immigration", Mark Harper, immigration minister, explained. "This Bill is the next step in the radical reform of the immigration system which has led to a reduction in net migration - now at its lowest level for a decade."

Illegal immigrants have long been identified as posing a problem for the private rented sector. In 2008 the House of Lords identified that immigration contributes to the demand for housing, causing prices to rise. They claimed that if rates of net immigration continued, in 20 years house prices would be ten per cent higher than if net immigration was zero.

Secondary effects of migrant populations at the bottom end of the private rental market include poor quality properties, overcrowding, inflated rents and unregistered houses of multiple occupation. Exploitation by landlords, poor waste management and pest control complications can also arise from renting to illegal immigrants, according to a Home Office report.

- Tuesday 09 July 2013

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