It has been confirmed by the government that all landlords in England will have to carry out checks to confirm that their new tenants have the right to live in the UK before allowing them to rent their properties.
The pilot study on immigration checks, which has been ongoing in the West Midlands, resulted in the identification of 109 people who were in the country illegally. Of those, 63 were previously unknown to the Home Office. Five penalty notices were issued to landlords for failing to enforce the checks.
Following an official evaluation of the first six months of the scheme, which found no indication of discrimination, Home Office ministers have announced that the checks will go nationwide from the start of February.
However, the data from the trial, as well as research from the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, suggests that forcing landlords to carry out these checks will result in higher costs for tenants. Daniel Watney, a property consultancy based in Fleet Street, say it could cost tenants an extra £70 million, as additional costs are passed on to tenants through increased fees.
The NLA has welcomed the announcement, as it has quashed fears of a sudden introduction. Although there will be few cheers in the private rented sector for the extra work the policy entails, the NLA insists that â€œlandlords’ experience of carrying out the checks is not as bad as the perception of the problems they will cause.â€