Birmingham and the West Midlands will be the areas to pilot the Government’s scheme that requires private landlords to check the immigration status of their tenants. The pilot scheme will commence on 1st December this year.
Greater West Midlands, including Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton (but not Coventry and Solihull), will all ‘host’ the pilot scheme. The proposals are intended to make it harder for illegal immigrants to rent accommodation and failure to comply could see landlords fined up to £1,000 for an initial breach and £3,000 for a subsequent breach.
The Residential Landlords Association has advised members:
- Not to worry unduly at the moment, as a start date for the legislation is 1st December
- The legislation is likely to apply only to new tenancies agreed on, or after, the start date
- The legislation is unlikely to apply to existing tenants renewing a tenancy agreement after the start date, where there has been no break in the tenants’ right to occupy the premises
A survey carried out by the Residential Landlords Association found that 82% of landlords oppose the plan which would force landlords to check that all their tenants are legally allowed in the country
The RLA believes that the proposal will jeopardise good landlord and tenant relationships. By requiring evidence of citizenship, it will call into question the rights of many who are legally entitled to British residency.
Commenting on today’s announcement, Chris Town, the RLA’s Vice Chairman said:
“Many British people do not have a passport and for those tenants on housing benefits, without passports, this will create an added difficulty for landlords.
“Whilst the RLA fully supports measures to ensure everyone in the UK legally resides here, this policy continues to smack of political posturing rather than a seriously thought through policy.
“For a Government committed to reducing the burden of red tape it is ironic that they are now seeking to impose a significant extra burden on landlords making them scapegoats for the UK Border Agency’s failings.”
The RLA opposed the initial suggestions and Government have since committed to providing private landlords with the necessary guidance to stay within the law.
The RLA has been involved every step of the way, advising landlords for some time that these proposals are likely to be introduced.
- Landlords attack Governments immigration proposals: May 2013
- RLA quoted in immigration bill second reading
- Read all RLA immigration stories here