Clarity needed over plans for compulsory tenant immigration checks
by Duncan Reeves
In the recent Queen's Speech, the Government unveiled plans to make landlords legally responsible for checking the immigration status of tenants.
Industry groups have called for greater clarity over the proposals, which could see landlords fined thousands of pounds if thorough inspections are not undertaken.
The move is part of the Government's latest attempt to curb immigration.
At the moment there is very little detail around what these new rules will mean for landlords.
It could be that landlords and lettings agents will have to implement another layer of administration, adding more red tape to the process, which could make renting less efficient and push up the costs for tenants.
However, highlighting any immigration issues is already usual practice for the majority of responsible lettings agents.
We already undertake thorough identity checks, including taking copies of prospective tenants' passports as well as work permits and resident visas where appropriate.
The main issue will be implementing and policing the new rules with the hundreds of thousands of private buy-to-let landlords, who may not be aware of the changes, and unscrupulous lettings agents, who are looking to bypass regulations to make a quick buck.
Caxtons will be working closely with industry groups such as ARLA and RICS over the coming months to clarify exactly what the Government expects from landlords and lettings agents. More information will be posted when details are known.