MPs scrutinising the Government’s latest immigration proposals used RLA background briefings to challenge Immigration Minister, James Brokenshire MP, over discrimination, the criminalisation of landlords and the retrospective nature of the changes. At yesterday’s meeting of the Immigration Bill committee, opposition MPs continually referenced the RLA’s document, outlining landlords’ misgivings over right to rent checks.
RLA policy director, David Smith, who gave evidence to the committee last week, wrote to all committee members calling on them to support an amendment that would give some protection from prosecution for renting to a person without a right to rent.
The Bill, as currently drafted would mean that as soon as a landlord receives a notice from the Secretary of State that a tenant does not have a right to rent they would automatically be committing a criminal offence. This is despite the Bill requiring landlords to give such tenants 28 days’ notice to leave the property under the proposed eviction procedure.
The RLA also highlighted concerns over a Government amendment that could see all tenancies covered by right to rent checks, rather than only new tenancies agreed after 1st February.
David Smith wrote:
“As previously noted in correspondence to members of the committee the RLA has serious concerns about the potential chaos and confusion of all tenants potentially having their immigration status checked at the same time. We therefore believe that a phased approach whereby tenants are checked as and when tenancies are up for renewal or created in the first place would be a much better approach.”
You can read yesterday’s Immigration Bill committee proceeding here: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmpublic/immigration/151029/am/151029s01.htm (morning session).