Tenants positive about planned immigration checks
Article Posted - 17th September 2013
According to the latest Tenant Index* from the National Landlords Association, 87 per cent of tenants say they are personally happy to demonstrate their right to live in the UK when looking for private housing.
More generally, the majority (82 per cent) think it is fair that tenants should be required to provide evidence of their immigration status.
In contrast, the research also found that some 18 per cent of tenants do not want to share their immigration status with their landlord.
This research coincides with the NLA's response to the Government's consultation on tackling illegal immigration in privately rented accommodation.
In its formal response, the NLA welcomed the plans for private landlords to play an integral role in developing and maintaining sustainable communities and thus the recognition of the significant function performed by the private-rented sector.
However, the NLA raised a number of concerns to be addressed before the policy can become a practical reality:
- Firstly the expectation that landlords should carry out periodic checks throughout the term of a tenancy is unrealistic. On-going checking should remain the responsibility of the appropriate authorities and the duty to report overstaying households could present a distinct danger to landlords in a small but significant number of instances.
- The system must be made clear, accessible and easy to comply with. Doubt about requirements or uncertainty about how to comply may result in landlords favouring applications for accommodation from households which are easier to verify. This would be unhealthy for the diversity of communities, the private-rented sector and the perception of private landlords and could lead to further shortages of available housing.
- Private landlords tend to interview prospective tenants in the properties they wish to let. They may therefore have reduced access to office equipment such as photocopiers and fax machines. These limitations must be taken into account when devising guidance and support materials
Carolyn Uphill, NLA Chairman, says:
“It is reassuring that the majority of tenants are comfortable with the concept of expanded tenant checks – in particular immigration checks. Tenant checking is an essential process for assessing the potential risk of default and we advise all landlords to conduct such checks before granting a tenancy.
“However it is also somewhat concerning that nearly a fifth (18%) of tenants do not want to share their immigration status with their landlord. It is essential that all tenants comply with the rules, when introduced. And if landlords are to be held responsible for non-compliance, they must not let property to those who refuse to follow the imminent legislation.
“I hope that our response to the consultation will ensure the Government considers the practicalities of immigration checks before the legislation is passed.”
*605 tenants who rent from private landlords surveyed in August 2013
For further information, please contact:
Rebecca Jones Senior Communications Executive, NLA 020 7820 7903 Rebecca.email@example.com
NOTES TO EDITORS:
The National Landlords Association (NLA) is the UK's leading organisation for private-residential landlords. It works with 39,000 landlords, of which 21,500 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.
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