Announced earlier this year, the Home Office put forward proposals to force landlords to conduct ongoing checks on the immigrant status of their tenants, and punish those who rent to an illegal immigrant – knowingly or not – with a civil penalty.
The British Property Federation says the plan is flawed, as it is asking landlords to deal with the same type of complex legal documentation that even skilled border control staff need time to check accurately. They point to a lack of evidence that landlords would be capable of fulfilling that legal obligation.
They say research is needed, and suggest a number of reforms to the proposals. Ian Fletcher, director of policy at the British Property Federation, said, “We need to make sure these regulations are effective. It is a lot of effort to go if they are not. Landlords are not skilled immigration officers and their recognition of documents beyond the standard UK passport and birth certificate will not be high.
“Would your average man in the street know what a naturalisation certificate looks like, or right of abode certificate, or the passport of any country in the world? It takes skilled border control staff time to check the paperwork and credentials of those migrating from outside Europe and doesn’t suggest that the unskilled eye will find this easy. It would be reckless to proceed with these proposals without testing this central assumption that landlords will recognise a wide array of documents.”