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Private landlords and illegal immigrants

(58 Posts)
janeainsworth Wed 08-May-13 18:07:36

... to think it is unfair to expect private landlords to take responsibility for checking the immigration status of all their tenants?
Surely it is the job of the Border Agency or whatever it's called to stop them in the first place?

glammanana Wed 08-May-13 18:32:36

Very unfair imo what can they do if they are shown documents that may not be 100% genuine how are they supposed to know,it should be the job of the Border Agency.

Ana Wed 08-May-13 18:34:21

I suppose it's being proposed as some sort of deterrent - whereas previously some landlords would have turned a blind eye and probably exploited anyone they suspected or knew were illegal immigrants, they may not now be willing to take the risk.

Eloethan Wed 08-May-13 18:51:23

Landlords have to adhere to certain health and safety standards and so some landlords want illegal immigrants because they can't go to the authorities if these standards are being flouted. Also, some landlords also own businesses where they employ the illegal immigrants on less than minimum wages or where they house them in terrible conditions and then take a huge chunk of the wages as payment for rent.

They'll think twice if they are going to be held responsible for ensuring that the people they house are legally in the UK.

sunseeker Wed 08-May-13 19:00:28

Provided the landlords can check easily and without huge cost then I don't have a problem with it

Aka Wed 08-May-13 19:10:35

Employers are expected to check the status of employees. I think it's an excellent idea.

Nonu Wed 08-May-13 19:19:47

I agree with the last two posters .

janeainsworth Wed 08-May-13 19:23:46

I imagine that the majority of private landlords are not ruthless exploiting business people - far more typical would be people who have bought one or two properties as part of a pension plan, or parents who have bought a flat for a student son or daughter and find themselves having to check up on their child's housemates.
As Glamma says, such people will not have the resources to verify whether documentation is genuine or not. There is already a problem for college authorities having to check the bona fides of overseas students, and if it is difficult for them, how much more difficult will it be for small landlords.
I have no problem with landlords having to comply with stringent health and safety requirements, because it is their responsibility to ensure that their property is safe to live in.
But they are not responsible for the government's immigration policy, and they should not be criminally liable for the failures of a government agency.

Riverwalk Wed 08-May-13 19:30:18

Small landlords are no different from small businesses - the latter are expected to verify documentation.

FlicketyB Wed 08-May-13 19:38:00

Having for a couple of years been an accidental landlord. I paid an agent to select my tenants and manage the flat for me. They are the professionals and just as they kept me up to date on any changes in the legal regulations governing my property I would expect them to have the expertise to check the relevant documentation.

Yes, it cost money but I got what I paid for and as with many regulations those who ignore them usually do so because they do not want to pay out the money necessary to fulfil the legal obligations. Yes, sometimes it is because they cannot afford it, but mainly it is because they are greedy and want to make more than a reasonable return on their capital.

Nonu Wed 08-May-13 19:44:55

When we were in the letting business that was exactly the same for us .

Nanban Wed 08-May-13 20:26:57

I wonder how widely known it is that in the majority of cases when illegal immigrants turf up in court for shoplifting or anything else in the money-making department, the Home Office can't be faffed to send anyone along to take them into custody and they are - mostly - just sent off again with a fine.

janeainsworth Wed 08-May-13 20:43:32

Flickety Who would be liable, if a tenant was found to be an illegal immigrant - the landlord or the letting agent?

FlicketyB Wed 08-May-13 20:52:31

I do not know but I would think that if you had taken reasonable care in selecting your agent and could show you had good grounds for relying on his expertise, you would at least have some comeback against him if he failed to do the job properly. I used a large chain of estate agents who had a division that specialised in lettings and paid them to be my experts on the legal requirements I had to meet to let my property.

Aka Wed 08-May-13 22:03:32

The letting agent.

Lilygran Wed 08-May-13 22:46:13

Universities and colleges already have to produce proof that all their overseas students are properly documented and attending classes, as we know. I have seen signs up in hospitals saying that people should be prepared to produce their passports. Employers are supposed to check employee's documents before giving them a job. I'm sure benefits offices do the same. When we were expats we had to carry ID identifying us as resident aliens and in the past, I've had foreign friends who had to report to the police at intervals because they were working or studying here. BUT all this and the new proposals simply provide extra hassle for the law-abiding legal foreign resident, asylum-seeker, refugee, student and so on. Not sure how it will help in the case of people who are illegal immigrants. confused

Aka Wed 08-May-13 22:55:10

Perhaps identify cards are the answer?

janeainsworth Wed 08-May-13 23:09:41

I would imagine that the people who provide forged documentation for illegal immigrants now, would be quite adept at forging identity cards too Aka

gillybob Thu 09-May-13 09:45:36

Exactly Riverwalk about two years ago we took on an Iranian (then student). As a small business we were expected to carry out all necessary checks to ensure that he had permission to work in this country (an I am not just talking about having an NI number). There are severe penalties for any employer (large or small) who employ anyone with out the correct paperwork and I can only see this as being a good thing. If this were extended out to landlords then this would be another positive step forward.

petra Thu 09-May-13 12:00:58

It will be interesting to see how much Sainsbury's will be fined for employing one of the most wanted men in USA.
Strange but true. He is a Manager in their Chatham store. It came out because some of the staff googled him.

susieb755 Thu 09-May-13 22:58:31

I fear it will lead to racist housing policies, and we willbe back to 60's with signs saying 'no blacks, no immigrants'

gillybob Thu 09-May-13 23:05:38

Why should that happen susieb755? As I said earlier employers have a legal responsibility to ensure anyone is working legally. Why should it be any different for landlords? I am sure Most employers are decent and above board, likewise most landlords. So if we all work together surely it has only got to be a good thing .

Sel Thu 09-May-13 23:10:07

susieb755 I don't follow. This is about illegal immigrants, not racial discrimination. How can you equate the two?

Ana Thu 09-May-13 23:12:07

Such signs would be illegal anyway.

susieb755 Fri 10-May-13 17:07:57

Sel - because landlords will not want to be bothered with all the checking, so will only rent to white british just in case....