LETTINGS NEWS: Landlords at risk from illegal migrants?
From 2015, new legislation introduced as part of the Immigration Bill will require letting agents and landlords to carry out immigration checks on new tenants before allowing them to move in. The purpose of the legislation is to stop rogue landlords letting substandard property to low paid immigrants. However, many fear that without proper education and training, landlords and agents are sitting targets, facing the risk of unwittingly accepting illegal migrants as tenants and incurring hefty fines as a result. It is thought that up to 85% of illegal migrants live in privately rented accommodation.
The government plans to conduct a pilot scheme in one location (yet to be announced) in the UK in two months’ time. Landlords who do not use the services of a letting agent will need to take particular care to ensure the required checks are properly executed. Lettings agents and landlords are also urged to be vigilant in looking for signs of ‘ghost tenants’ living in their properties – ie, individuals who are secretly living on the premises. Signs to look out for include evidence of additional sleeping arrangements as well as wear and tear and rubbish that exceeds normal expectations for the number of tenants.