A new bill is set to cause controversy with a nationwide crackdown on failed asylum seekers.
With the migrant crisis worsening by the day in Calais the government’s Immigration Bill is back in the news, bringing with it a raft of headlines about its potential impact.
Right to rogue
Last year the government unveiled a groundbreaking pilot scheme across the West Midlands, requiring private landlords to check the immigration status of every new tenant. Designed to crack down on ‘rogue landlords’ renting out to illegal immigrants, Ministers have claimed the scheme a success and now plan to release it across the UK.
Landlords will need to request and copy original documents - like a passport – to show that the individual has a right to rent in the UK. Agree a lease with an immigrant lacking these documents and that landlord will be breaking the law - It’ll mean more paper work and a raft of new responsibilities.
As things stand it’s currently a criminal offence to evict tenants without a court order, however under the Immigration Bill we’re set to see this change. Asylum-seeking tenants could be evicted immediately should their bid for asylum fail with the Immigration Bill removing their ‘right to rent’.
Whether the landlord or Home Office will be burdened with the cost of eviction still remains to be seen, whilst there’s a substantial question mark as to how these evictions will comply with the Human Rights Act. Elsewhere, there’s been no suggestion as to what the government would do with these evicted tenants next.
Bills, bans or prison
All the signs suggest that the government is taking the matter very seriously, landlords that fail to carry out checks face up to fines of up to £3,000, or worse still up to five years’ in jail. There’s even the prospect of total rent bans for repeat offenders, with talk of a blacklist for ‘rogue landlords and letting agents’.
In short, the message is clear - continue to rent out your property illegally and you’ll be punished severely.
Ultimately it appears that the government is keen to crack down on the more unscrupulous operators - like those who profit out of letting overcrowded and unsafe accommodation, chiefly to illegal immigrants.