This is a proposed aspect of the Immigration Bill, announced for debate in Parliament in today’s Queen’s speech.
David Brown, commercial director of LSL Property Services, said: “The government shouldn’t be putting obstacles in the way of landlords expanding their portfolios when tenants need the private rented sector more than ever.
“More rules forced upon the industry by government will only make renting less efficient – and ultimately more expensive for tenants. At a time of huge financial pressure this industry has not only survived, but picked up the slack.”
Stephen Nation, head of lettings at the Sequence Group, which includes Barnard Marcus, William H Brown and Fox & Sons, said it would be hard to implement.
“If it’s to be the responsibility of all landlords to check passports and visas of foreign tenants that will lead to questions about how equipped an amateur landlord is at carrying out and verifying these checks,” he said.
“Imposing substantial fines on landlords who fail to carry out these measures will be hard to implement as is the current legislation for private landlords to lodge deposits in an accredited scheme. How many prosecutions have we seen so far for non-compliant landlords?
“Lettings agents already carry out stringent tenant checks; unless a private landlord makes regular checks on the property they could find that the tenant who signed the agreement and met the legislated checks is in fact subletting to a number of illegal tenants.
“These proposals will not be able to address this scenario and instead are just passing off the onus of implementation of the Immigration Act on to landlords.”