According to David Cameron’s speech on immigration on the 21st of May, a proposal that private landlords must check the immigration status of prospective tenants will be rolled out nationwide. The new legal requirement the government wants to introduce – the ‘right to rent’ scheme - is intended to help fight illegal immigration by requiring private landlords to check tenants’ immigration status. However, this scheme, which is currently being piloted in the West Midlands, has been called into question since it was conceived of.
In response to the Prime Minister’s speech, landlord groups argue that this plan might lead to more bureaucracy and complications as the fines for landlords will rise to £3,000 per occupant found not to have the right papers. Meanwhile, they claim that the plan might drive tenants into the hands of unscrupulous operators, so it isn’t the effective solution to solve the problem of rogue agents plaguing the market.
The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) also stated that the scheme causes confusion over the recent announcement to permit subletting and the Deregulation Act aiming to make it easier for tenants to avoid being evicted. Moreover, the government fails to answer whether the ‘right to rent’ scheme might override laws ‘enabling landlords to regain possession of their properties’ in the 1988 Housing Act.