Landlords Face Criminal Conviction for Housing Illegal Immigrants
Article by Ramzan Sharif, Solicitor at Fountain Solicitors
The government has announced its intention to introduce new measures to ‘crack down on rogue landlords’ who allow illegal immigrants to rent their properties. In a press release on 3rd August 2015 the government has confirmed that as part of its commitment to reducing illegal immigration, landlords will be required to ensure that the people they rent to are legally entitled to be in the country and that they will be able to evict tenants sometimes without even a court order.
Landlords who fail to conduct a ‘right to rent’ check or fail to remove illegal immigrants from their property may face a fine and up to 5 years imprisonment.
The ‘right to rent’ idea has been piloted across the West Midlands since December 2014. The government itself has yet to complete its official evaluation of the pilot scheme yet has still gone on to declare the pilot a success in its recent press release. No indication of why it has been deemed a success can be found. In fact, a Freedom of Information Request has found that only 7 landlords have been fined since the introduction of the scheme. The Residential Landlords Association has stated that British citizens who do not hold passports are finding it increasingly hard to rent. The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants has also said that some British citizens with foreign accents are also finding it difficult to obtain tenancies.
The proposal to roll out the pilot across the country was blocked by the Liberal Democrats prior to the election. Nick Clegg expressed the concern that it would increase homelessness and drive migrants underground into the hands of unscrupulous landlords. Communities Secretary Greg Clark has said that it is a crack down on those landlords exploiting vulnerable people whilst at the same time seeking to introduce measures to place these vulnerable individuals into a position of homelessness and deprivation.
One of the main concerns is that families with children could be evicted at very short notice and without a court order, quickly finding themselves homeless. On this occasion, surely the local authority would have a duty to house the children (at the expense of the tax payer) under the general duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children?
Ramzan Sharif of Fountain Solicitors is Walsall says, “there is also concern for the landlords themselves who have suddenly been charged with the task of immigration control, a task that the government, by its own admission has failed to get to grips with”.
Fountain Solicitors specialises in Immigration and Asylum Law, Family Law, Personal Injury, Housing, Welfare Benefits, Debt, National Security, Employment Law, Wills and Affidavits. We have a team of 25 who can deal with the above matters.
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