Landlords face Immigration Act minefield

Sarah Davidson

December 2, 2014

Landlords in the West Midlands now risk a £3,000 fine if they fail to sufficiently check whether prospective tenants are in the country legally.

Kenny warned landlords: “Be very careful indeed – it’s a potential minefield.

“Those in the West Midlands should look carefully at the current referencing checks they make.

“They may think looking at the passport is enough but it isn’t; they need to check the immigration status within the tenant’s visa as well.”

Rules on hiring illegal immigrants already stand in the workplace, with employers having to pay up to £20,000 if they make such an error.

Kenny said: “Like employers, even landlords who know the details of this new law will make mistakes.”

And they could also be accused of discrimination. He added: “Landlords have asked if they can avoid letting to people in a different country, but this might well be discriminatory.

“The reason for the policy is to create an unfriendly environment to people not meant to be in the UK, but practically the burden has been shifted to landlords to check immigration status.”

Kenny also reckons that landlords across the UK should monitor the immigration pilot as it could affect them in the end. “It only applies to the West Midlands at the moment but landlords elsewhere need to look carefully at what happens.

“The results of the pilot are likely to determine whether it happens with the rest of the UK.

“Landlords need to pay attention to what is going to be a developing story.”

The act is being piloted across Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton with a view to being rolled out across the country.

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