17 September 2015
According to new immigration laws, illegal immigrants currently in the UK stand to be evicted sans court order after they are denied asylum. Landlords housing such individuals will also stand guilty and can be hit with a prison sentence spanning 5 years if they fail to check the immigration status before checking in their tenants. The plan is said to be one of the initiatives of the British government to discourage migrants from travelling to the UK and making it a home.
Home Secretary, Theresa May, also warned them saying that Britain’s roads are not ‘paved with gold’ and that the government will take active measures to alter laws that will allow landlords the right to evict tenants without a court order who landed on British soil illegally.
Proprietors who fail to do this will find their names in a ‘rogue landlord blacklist’ and persistent offenders may face jail time. The announcement was made by the UK Communities Secretary, Greg Clark who is determined to stop such landlords from harbouring illegal immigrants, exploiting vulnerable migrants in the process or making money off them. These sentiments were echoed in the legislation that introduced the rule in 2014 by former Prime Minister, David Cameron in 2014.
Plans are also underway that will allow the Home Office to deny access to benefits for immigrant families who have ‘morally reprehensible’ asylum applications. The decision is a way for the government to portray Britain as an inhospitable place, diverting the influx of Calais migrants and other asylum seekers elsewhere, particularly those who are travelling from Africa to Europe.
In order to verify the immigration status of tenants, landlords can access the ‘Right to Rent’ scheme which allows them to check whether their tenants have the legal right to remain on British soil. The scheme takes asylum seekers’ biometric residence permit or their passports as a point of reference. The government has also promised a better test which will allow proprietors to ensure better properties for future tenants. Failure to comply can result in a £3,000 penalty and a five-year prison sentence in case of persistent non-compliance.
The measures will only apply to England for the time being and will target landlords who are making money by exploiting the UK immigration system. A discussion was published this year that discusses rogue landlords along with the measures the government is taking to crack down on them and to ensure they are fulfilling their basic duties. The course of action is a bid to hone in on landlords who ignore the basic requirements of their legal tenants by refusing to maintain their properties or by overcrowding them.
This includes sharing Tenancy Deposit Protection data that can aid the authorities to reveal proprietors who rent out unsafe or overcrowded accommodations. Guilty parties will have to pay fines amounting to £1,500 and £350 if they fail to meet the requirements of an Improvement Notice that outlined hazardous living conditions in their property.
Garth Coates Solicitors