New immigration rules lay down the law to landlords
Government bill puts onus on landlords and letting agents to check immigration status of tenants
A major change to the law on immigration which has recently become an act of parliament is set to cause an earthquake in the renting and lettings market across the UK and here in the Midlands.
Local residential property estate agents and letting experts Robert Oulsnam & Co. warn that anyone who rents domestic property in Birmingham and North Worcestershire will be affected by this bill - which is expected to pass into law this October. Even those people who rent out a single room or take in lodgers will now be required to check the immigration status of the renter - a situation which could well put off many private individuals from renting out property at all.
Fines for non-compliance will run into thousands of pounds - even for people who simply rent a single room in their own home.
The government claims that managing agents, letting companies and private landlords are not only unwittingly aiding illegal immigrants to remain in this country but that some are also guilty of exploiting those who they know are here illegally. This new bill is designed to tackle both issues.
Needless to say the passage of this new law has been hotly opposed by industry bodies the RICS (Royal Institute of Charted Surveyors) and the NLA (National Landlords Association). Both maintain that it is wrong of the government to use landlords and letting agents as an unpaid extension of the Border Control Service.
So, if you are a letting agent or private landlord how can you protect yourself from falling foul of this new law and a possible £3,000 fine for each person illegally occupying a property? The easiest way is by using a document scanner - these devices are easy to use and enable you to quickly verify official documents such as passports, residency permits and visas. However, with a price tag running between £2,500 to £3,500 a year you may want to take advantage of some mobile scanner apps currently being developed for smartphones - these are likely to cost between £1 to £5 per use.
Robert Oulsnam & Company already digitaly verify all their clients ensuring all their landlords have nothing to fear.