Landlords could face up to 5 years in prison for housing illegal immigrants.
A Right to Rent scheme, piloted in the West Midlands, is to be rolled out across the UK. The scheme allows landlords to check their tenants’ rights to housing in the UK by asking for their passport or residence permit. This aims to stop rogue landlords and letting agents from housing illegal immigrants with prison sentences for repeat offenders.
Landlords will be expected to act immediately after being receiving notice that they are housing illegal immigrants, in some cases being able evict without a court order.
Home secretary, Teresa May, said, “Many see Europe and particularly Britain as somewhere that offers the prospect of financial gain. That is not the case – our streets are not paved with gold.”
This comes alongside the announcement that there will be no automatic right to benefits if application for asylum rejected. This is all part of a wave of measures making Britain less attractive to illegal immigrants and in direct response to the “swarm” of people coming over from Calais.
“UK is not a land of milk and honey.”
Richard Lambert, chief executive of the NLA, raised his concern about taking the power of evicting someone from the courts to the individual is a risky business. He went on to say, “I do worry in the case of an illegal immigrant you possibly have then a despairing person in a desperate situation. It could put people in potential danger. We need to think through the consequences of the kind of system we are putting in place.”
Greg Clark, communities secretary, is also expected to announce plans to create a blacklist of rogue landlords and letting agents to allow local councils to track them down more easily. The list will be made up of those who are known for housing illegal immigrants as well as letting substandard properties and breaking other health and safety regulations.
Clark said: “We are determined to crack down on rogue landlords who make money out of illegal immigration – exploiting vulnerable people and undermining our immigration system. In future, landlords will be required to ensure that the people they rent their properties to are legally entitled to be in the country. We will also require them to meet their basic responsibilities as landlords, cracking down on those who rent out dangerous, dirty and overcrowded properties.”