Landlords face £1,000 fines over immigration checks

Landlords will face penalties of at least £1,000 if they let to individuals who are not legally allowed to live in the UK.

This is according to new proposals made during consultation around the controversial Immigration Bill. The Bill, which was trailed in the recent Queen’s Speech, will make it illegal for landlords to let to many individuals without first checking their immigration status.

Now the penalties for landlords and letting agents who let to so-called ‘illegal immigrants’ have been announced. They will run to £1,000 per tenant for the first offence, and £3,000 per tenant thereafter. Licences for homes in multiple occupation could also be revoked.

There has been widespread concern regarding the Bill from landlords, agents, and politicians. During the debate that followed the Queen’s Speech, Labour MP Fiona Mactaggart said: “I am not sure how a landlord is supposed to be able to prove to their own satisfaction whether someone is qualified [to live in the UK] or not. I order to operate the proposal sensibly, it will probably require a register of landlords.”

Meanwhile Residential Landlords Association chairman Alan Ward said: “The private rented sector is already creaking under the weight of red tape, so it is little wonder that landlords are so clearly opposed to this flagship government measure.

“For a government committed to reducing the burden of regulation, it is ironic that they are now seeking to impose a significant extra burden on landlords.”

There had been speculation that the proposals may be watered down or scrapped altogether, but this week’s announcement suggests that the Bill’s provisions are likely to be implemented. Read more about what the Immigration Bill means for landlords.