Giving oral evidence to the House of Commons Committee considering the Immigration Bill, Carolyn Uphill, Chairman of The National Landlords Association (NLA) yesterday voiced concerns about the Government’s proposals.
In response to questioning about the proposed requirement for landlords to undertake regular checks on the immigration status of tenants, Carolyn Uphill highlighted major worries over the practical difficulties and the potential danger to landlords’ safety, as well as issuing a stark warning that the Bill could only serve to nurture a rogue underclass of damaging and criminal letting practices.
Carolyn Uphill said:
“If landlords must be made responsible for making initial immigration checks then, having made that process simple and possible for the landlord to do, it should be the only check required of them.
“We must be under no illusion that requiring landlords to make periodic checks during the tenancy could put them in an extremely difficult position with their tenants. You only need one incident when the publicity from a landlord and tenant getting in to some sort of physical situation puts all landlords off considering anybody on a temporary visa. This will leave vulnerable tenants forced into the arms of an underclass of rogue operators, who will not care and certainly won’t inform the immigration authorities.
“You have to remember that landlords are in business to let their property as quickly as possible because when it is empty they’re running up overheads. In a situation where there is high demand for rented property with potentially several applicants, landlords will be tempted to take the easiest route and those with indigenous British passports will get priority.
“A good relationship is fundamental to the success of the landlord-tenant partnership. This sort of situation, where the landlord could become responsible for checking the continuing immigration status of the tenant is destructive of that relationship”.
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NOTES TO EDITORS:
The National Landlords Association (NLA) is the UK’s leading organisation for private-residential landlords. It works with 41,000 landlords, of which 22,000 are paying members, ranging from full-time landlords with large property portfolios to those with just a single letting. NLA membership helps landlords make a success of their lettings business by providing a wide range of information, advice and services. The NLA campaigns for the legitimate interests of landlords by seeking to influence decision-makers at all levels of government and by making landlords’ collective voice heard in the media. It seeks to raise standards in the private-rented sector while aiming to ensure that landlords are aware of their statutory rights and responsibilities. Based at its head office in Central London, the NLA currently employs over 40 full-time staff and has a network of more than 50 regional representatives and branches throughout the UK.