Monthly Archives: May 2013

Landlords Legally Responsible for Checking the Immigration Status of their Tenants

LandlordZONE recently asked us to write an article on the new proposals to make landlords responsible for checking their tenant’s right to be in the UK:

The Queens Speech on the 8th May 2013 announced plans, as part of an Immigration Bill, to make landlords legally responsible for checking the immigration status of their tenants.

The proposed regulation for landlords would be similar to those already in place for employers, who are required to check their employee’s eligibility to work in the UK.

The announcement earlier this month sparked anger from landlords and letting agents alike. Groups expressed concerns about becoming responsible for controlling our boarders and were angered at the suggestion that it would become their responsibility. Concerns were raised as to how a landlord would be able to tell genuine from false documents, whether it would be the landlord or agent’s responsibility and how in-depth the checks would need to be to avoid facing the proposed penalties which could run in to thousands of pounds.

A spokesman from the Department for Communities and Local Government said: “The government is taking action to stop rogue landlords who cash in from housing illegal immigrants. These measures will send out a strong signal and help reduce unsustainable immigration.”

Since it’s announcement earlier this month, the plans have been defined and some what watered down, although are not a complete U-turn. It has now emerged that the changes will target problem areas, rather than being a nationwide initiative, and will therefore effect far fewer than the estimated two million buy-to let landlords in the UK.

In what was reported to be a heated Cabinet debate, the Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles, is said to have told the Prime Minister David Cameron that most properties were rented out by individual or small portfolio landlords and that these new measures would be an “unreasonable burden”.

Eric Pickles and those in the Communities department are said to be working to “not over-regulate the whole market” and to “target the regulations at high risk areas”. This means that only areas with a high immigrant population, such as Ealing and Hounslow, will be subject to the new regulations.

It seems that the Bill was sketched out and then announced in the Queens Speech, before the details of how it would be implemented had been fully worked through. It is now clear that it would be unworkable as a blanket policy for all landlords nationwide, not only creating a massive burden on landlords (who could potentially then pass costs on to tenants), but also deterring new entrants to the buy-to-let market.

Eric Pickles is now working on the best way to implement the policy without imposing onerous red tape on all landlords. Legislative details are to be published in due course and of course.

Would a Nation of Renters Be Better for Our Economy

More people renting houses rather than owning them would be better for our economy In April, mortgage lending fell for the fourth month in a row. It seems that the British are so determined to get on top of their personal debt that repayments have exceeded borrowing for eight of the past 12 months. Since… Continue Reading

Discrimination in the Private Rented Sector

Emily Spaven, editor of, recently asked us for our thoughts on discrimination by landlords, following a recent case in the Isle of Man. A landlord had refused to let his property to a gay couple as homosexuality is against his religious beliefs.  Unfortunately for the couple, the landlord was within his rights, according to… Continue Reading

Why Tenant Referencing is So Important

  Your property is probably one of the most expensive things you own, so you don’t want just any one moving in.   There have been numerous reports of cannabis farms in rental properties, and one of our tenants has first hand experience of this.  Whilst renting one of our properties, he let his own,… Continue Reading

London Renters 5 Core Demands

London Renters are a coalition of tenants calling for changes to the private rented sector (PRS). They have 5 core demands: 1. An end to fees for tenants (to bring English policy in line with Scotland) London Renters feel that the fees charge to tenants precludes a lot of low and middle income people from the PRS. 2. Proper… Continue Reading

Disputed Deposits are Just 1.3% of Total

The number of deposit disputes in England & Wales is extremely low, according to official figures released by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). The Government figures show that of the Seven million deposits that have been protected since the launch of the legislation in 2007, only less than 92,000 have ended up… Continue Reading

High Courts to hear “Bedroom Tax” challenge

Today the High Court will begin hearing the legal challenges to the governments so called “bedroom tax”.   10 families, who each feel they have been discriminated against by the penalty for under-occupation of their social housing, have started legal  proceedings. The penalty came into force on 1st April.  Working age social tenants who are… Continue Reading

What Visa does your Migrant Tenant Need?

In the aftermath of the news that landlords will now be required to check that their migrant tenants have the right to be in the UK, there is a large amount of confusion over who needs a visa, what type etc. For more information about the type of visa your migrant tenant requires, please visit… Continue Reading

Landlords Told to Vet Migrant Tenants

Private landlords will be legally responsible for ensuring that they only let properties to people allowed to be in Britain under immigration laws to be announced in tomorrow’s Queen’s Speech. Almost two million buy-to-let property owners will be responsible for checking the immigration status of potential tenants, with fines running into thousands of pounds for… Continue Reading