The Department for Communities and Local Government announced that there will be:
- New measures requiring landlords to conduct “right to rent” checks on their tenants' immigration status before offering a tenancy agreement.
- A new criminal offence targeted at unscrupulous landlords and agents who repeatedly fail to conduct “right to rent” checks or fail to take steps to remove illegal immigrants from their properties. Landlords may face a fine, up to five years' imprisonment and further sanctions under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
- Measures in the Immigration Bill to enable landlords to evict illegal immigrant tenants more easily by enabling them to end a tenancy when a person’s leave to remain in the UK ends.
The DCLG also published a consultation (which ended last month) on the government's proposals for tackling the worst offenders. The proposals include blacklisting rogue landlords and letting agents, extending Rent Repayment Orders and introducing civil penalties.
This bill is a measure designed to crackdown on illegal immigration, in common with many other governments around the world. However, it does seem to me that there is a significant burden being placed on landlords to “police” the accommodation aspect. This might be somewhat mitigated though if landlords are provided with financial support to evict affected tenants – although I have my doubts about whether any such support would be much more than a token contribution.