England’s landlords will have to evict illegal immigrants

In a controversial move, the Government has announced that it expects landlords in England to evict illegal immigrants from their properties.

It is part of a new draft of measures to clampdown on illegal migration and the tenancy can be brought to an end without a court order.

This will happen when the asylum request has failed.

In addition, before agreeing a lease to a tenant, the landlord will be required to check their immigration status.

Those landlords who repeatedly failed to do this effectively can face five years in prison as a result.

Landlords will be informed that an asylum application has failed

 
The moves are to be detailed in the Immigration Bill and landlords will be informed by the Home Office that an asylum application has failed and that the tenant no longer has a right to live in a rental property.

Among the critics of the move is regional operations manager Fran Mulhall of GFW Letting who says that landlords are facing an extra financial burden of having to carry out checks the government should be doing.

In addition, landlords are also facing extra costs to evict and creating a potential rental void period – in addition to a £3,000 fine if they fail to evict the tenant.

She added: “Immigration issues should not be a landlord’s responsibility and it seems like the government is passing the buck.”

However, one well-known rental property landlord says that the new government plans do not go far enough in punishing rogue landlords who do rent their properties to illegal immigrants.

‘Rogue landlords should be banned and have their property confiscated’

 
Fergus Wilson, who owns more than 1,000 rental properties, said rogue landlords should be banned and have their property confiscated.

He told one newspaper: “When dealing with a rogue letting agent you can’t blame a landlord really and unfortunately some people will just go underground.”

Following the government’s announcement one national newspaper revealed some landlords and letting agents are already turning away British citizens who don’t have passports.

The revelation comes from a study of the six month pilot scheme in the Midlands which saw landlords trialling the immigration status checks.

This has led to a recent ‘snap meeting’ between landlords and the Home Office to discuss why British people are being denied access to rented accommodation.

Calls to a landlord helpline concerned unfamiliar documents

 
It has also been revealed that 25% of calls to a landlord helpline for checking an immigrant’s status concerned which documents were acceptable as some were unfamiliar to landlords.

Legal experts have also flagged up potential problems with the new scheme such as who will pay for the eviction in case it needs to go to court and have bailiffs employed to carry out the eviction.

This might cost a landlord up to £1,000 and it’s not clear, currently, whether the Home Office or landlord will pay that bill.

It’s also not clear what will happen to an evicted illegal immigrant and they can only be removed from a property when the Home Office knows who they are and where they are going to live.

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About S Thompson

Simon Thompson is Chairman of the Landlord Syndicate and CEO / Co Founder of Accommodation for Students Ltd.

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