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Housing Minister Says Immigrant Checks Will Be Basic

May 29, 2013 | Landlord News  

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The proposals unveiled in the Queen’s Speech that will make landlords responsible for finding out whether their potential tenants have the right to reside in the UK has been of concern to many in the private rental sector, particularly due to the promise of heavy fines for failing to identify someone who is here illegally and accepting them as a tenant. The lack of details regarding exactly what is expected of landlords has also been worrying.

Answering questions from MPs about these proposals, housing minister Mark Prisk has put landlords more at ease by assuring MPs that the new rules will not be exceptionally demanding, although the exact details remain elusive.

He said, “What we’re asking for is all landlords undertake that basic check to see people are who they are and they are entitled to be here.

“The intention is to make it light-touch. We’re working on the proposals at the moment and we don’t want to make it unduly onerous. The idea is to make sure someone takes a reasonable step to check someone’s identity and that would naturally be a passport.”

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He put down suggestions that a national registration scheme for landlords would be set up, although he has not dismissed the wider use of selective licensing schemes.

He said, “If there’s a good argument demonstrated that a significant proportion of local authorities would welcome an extension, I would certainly be happy to look at the evidence.”

Asked in the Commons by a Labour MP what steps his department is taking to make tenants more aware of tenancy deposit protections schemes, he said he expects increased publicity from providers resulting from the recent increase in government-approved competition in the market.

He said, “It is a requirement of my Department’s service concession agreements with the tenancy deposit protection scheme providers that they carry out publicity and marketing activities, aimed at tenants as well as landlords. There will be increased publicity following the recent launch of two new schemes in April this year, both from the new schemes in order to attract members, but also from the existing schemes in light of the additional competition.”

One of the new schemes is being launched by Capita, while the other is an insurance-backed scheme from the Deposit Protection Service.

 

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