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Experts hit out at ‘unacceptable’ landlord checks on immigrants

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Housing experts have hit out at “unacceptable” proposals that could force landlords to check the immigration status of their tenants.

In the Queen’s speech last week, the Government unveiled an immigration bill that could see landlords facing big fines if they are found to house illegal immigrants.

Royal Institution Chartered Surveyors UK director of external affairs Stephen Thornton says the rules will increase “red tape” for all landlords.

He says: “The Government must make sure that the proposals do not increase costs to renters which they can often ill afford.

“Amateur landlords operate without proper training or guidance, putting themselves and their tenants at risk. The Government has stubbornly refused to look at introducing better laws to protect both landlords and tenants – it is unacceptable that it expects the property industry to deliver its immigration policy.”

National Landlords Association chief executive Richard Lambert says: “Local authorities must undertake robust, intelligence-led, targeted enforcement, otherwise illegal immigrants who are refused housing by reputable landlords will face homelessness or be pushed straight back into the arms of criminals who deliberately exploit vulnerable people.”

Mortgages for Business managing director David Whitaker says: “If the landlord receives £8,000 a year in rent but could face a £5,000 fine then it will become part of lenders’ risk checks. Lenders will ask for proof that tenants are not illegal immigrants, while landlords and letting agents will do the checks and charge more for it.”

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