The government is ready to order landlords to carry right to rent checks on tenants as part of a crackdown on illegal immigration.
Measures in a new Immigration Bill announced by Communities Minister Greg Clarke will only apply to landlords in England.
- They include proposals to help landlords evict illegal immigrants without having to go to court in some cases
- A blacklist of landlords repeatedly ignoring right to rent
- A stricter ‘fit and proper person test’ aimed at rooting out rogue landlords
“We are determined to crack down on rogue landlords who make money out of illegal immigration – exploiting vulnerable people and undermining our immigration system.
“In future, landlords will be required to ensure that the people they rent their properties to are legally entitled to be in the country.
“We will also require them to meet their basic responsibilities as landlords, cracking down on those who rent out dangerous, dirty and overcrowded properties.”
The new bill will allow landlords to evict tenants without Home Office leave to stay in the UK and in some cases landlords will not have to go to court to secure possession.
The Home Office will issue an order withdrawing right to rent and the new law will require landlords to make sure anyone illegally staying in a rented home will have to leave.
The minister also confirmed right to rent checks by landlords will be rolled out across England after a pilot scheme in the West Midlands has proved a success over the past few months.
“A new criminal offence will target unscrupulous landlords and letting agents who repeatedly fail to conduct the right to rent checks or fail to take steps to remove illegal immigrants from their property,” said Clark.
These offenders may face a fine, up to five years in jail and confiscation of cash and property under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
The Bill will also introduce a government database of landlords and letting agents who commit housing act offences to aid councils enforce rules designed to improve poor housing standards.
Repeat offenders face a ban on letting homes to tenants.
The Bill also has other clauses aimed at helping councils target bad landlords, such as:
- A tougher fit and proper person test for landlords of licensed properties to make sure they do endanger the welfare or safety of tenants
- Allowing local councils to claim back housing benefit payments from landlords who fail to maintain homes to a good standard
- Introducing on-the-spot fixed penalty fines for some housing offences
- Sharing of tenancy deposit protection information to help councils tackle landlords who knowingly rent out unsafe and overcrowded accommodation
Another clause in the Bill allows landlords to possess abandoned homes without taking court action.