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Private landlords and illegal immigrants

(59 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?

Ana Fri 10-May-13 17:12:36

Which would leave them wide open to being sued for racial discrimination. It wouldn't be allowed to happen, susieb755.

Nanban Fri 10-May-13 19:56:29

Whenever immigration is raised, someone always raises the racism issue. It's got absolutely nothing to do with colour/country/culture - it's got everything to do with our country and you have not followed the rules so go away because we have plenty of people here already.

Nonu Fri 10-May-13 20:59:32

Nanban --- like !

Anyways I am tootling as there is a prog. on BBc 2 at 9 i want to watch .

Nanban Fri 10-May-13 21:12:29

Thanks Nonu - nice to be liked

Ana Fri 10-May-13 21:17:26

Nanban - you're lucky with your timing! wink

susieb755 Sat 11-May-13 19:33:42

Ana - people would have to prove that was what they were doing

Nanban - I agree something needs to be done re ( illegal ) immigration - but really we need to invest more in border control and immigration - the current system is ridiculous - near me they drop them on the A35 - the police pick them up - ring border control, and get told to give them the fare to croydon! as if thats going to happen , there ar eno checks on ferries coming into Poole on a sunday - its just madenss

Aka Mon 13-May-13 09:17:37

Everyone moans about the load put on the country by immigration. Then when anyone even suggests we cooperate to try to discourage illegal immigrants people are up in arms shouting 'racism'. Private landlords have been very much to blame in the past by their practices, not least offering substandard housing to illegal immigrants, cramming them in, and making a good profit. It's about time these type of landlords were brought to book.
As a private landlord myself I'm more than happy for my agents to check documents etc and they are very good at spotting forgeries. You've no idea how many try to foist forged letters of recommendation, student IDs, etc on us Janeainsworth

janthea Mon 13-May-13 11:09:48

I can see absolutely no problem with having to check whether people are illegal are not. It just makes sense! Nothing to do with racism

JessM Mon 13-May-13 12:18:31

Very tricky idea and like a lot of ideas that politicians put forward, extremely difficult to enforce. You would have to have significant fines for the landlord to deter - and then who would check?
Agree with Jane that it is very hard to do. When recruiting it is legal requirement to check their right to be here and to be working - not the same thing. Easy to do if someone gives you a normal UK passport or a normal Spanish one for that matter. Not easy to do if someone gives you an Indian or Nigerian passport (say) with a UK visa stamp in it. That is when you need to have gone on a training course to interpret the significance of the visa stamp. Small businesses need to cover themselves e.g. by having an HR advisor or only using employment agencies to find and screen candidates. There is also the issue with any passport of - is it authentic. Cue training course mark two.
And I have on more than one occasion looked at a passport and thought "That photo could be any youngish man from their neck of the woods hmm".
It is really not feasible to impose this on private landlords who are letting one or two rooms. May be feasible to impose on agents.
But you made it compulsory for letting agents and not private landlords you would push the illegal landlords (further) underground. There are not the ones who have taken the trouble to get properly licenced with the LA as HMOs probably.
And yes, it is a deterrent for landlords and agents if they have another admin cost added, so discrimination against those without EU passports would probably result.

Lilygran Mon 13-May-13 13:27:51

The issue of identity cards to all legal residents would go a long way to solve this problem. But we Brits resist it for some reason though we appear to be happy to produce passports (no address) or driving licences or utility bills (your name probably not on it if your OH is) bus passes, EU medical cards and everyone and his auntie seems to be out and about with work or student ID dangling round their necks, hanging from their pockets or lapels or ties. How weird is that? confused

Aka Mon 13-May-13 14:09:01

Some people just love to be negative!!

Aka Mon 13-May-13 14:16:23

Jess with respect what are you talking about? It's not the huge problem you seem to think it is? Before I had an agent I did all the paperwork myself. It's important to get the 'right' tenant, any landlord will agree with that. You don't just let to the first person who turns up. There are checks to be made first or you'll end up with problems. My motto is 'if there's a problem get over it'. Whereas others seem to see insoluble problems at every turn.

JessM Mon 13-May-13 14:32:31

aka when someone says "with respect" it always sounds like the opposite is meant don't you think? Or am I being over-sensitive?
I have worked for years in recruitment and looked at many passports. Illegal immigration is not a huge problem in most areas of recruitment and I don't think it is in the housing market either. Indeed we do not know if it is a "huge problem" in the country do we?
I think this is a cheap vote grabbing bit of legislation that is unlikely to have any effect whatsoever on the unquantified illegal immigration problem. And how would we know, seeing as the starting point is by definition unknown - how would you know if it had improved anything?
If it was to have a significant effect you would have to set up an inspection system. Sledge hammers and nuts come to mind.
Inspection would cost a fortune as the most unscrupulous landlords are not going to be licenced are they? Not a case of "just" visiting, regularly, all the local HMOs and inspecting all their photocopied passports. Which in itself would be a burden on a local authority.
So how, exactly, do you think this legislation can be drafted or implemented?
The main point I am making though is that assessing passports and visas is not something an amateur can do. Any more than CRB checking or financial background checking is something an amateur can do. But many landlords are amateurs are they not?

bluebell Mon 13-May-13 14:40:03

JessM - I agree absolutely with all you've said . This is nothing to do with tackling the 'problem' of illegal immigration and everything to do with UKIPs recent successes. Actually I'm surprised that we allow people to shop in Sainsbury's without valid documentation!! Starve them out!

Nonu Mon 13-May-13 14:52:21

Still they could always go to TESCO"S or WAITROSE !

Aka Mon 13-May-13 15:40:26

So where do you think illegal immigrants live Jess? On Wimbledon Common with the Wombles?

Aka Mon 13-May-13 15:41:50

bluebell I'm shocked. Why would you want to starve anybody?

Aka Mon 13-May-13 15:47:39

Ok Jess got it. You're the expert, everyone else is stupid an amateur. Even though you've never been a landlord or lady?

bluebell Mon 13-May-13 16:04:56

Oh for goodness sake Aka - you don't have to be a landlord to understand what's going on here - it's all about feeding UKIP/anti-immigration hysteria. If we all had to experience everything before we could comment on it, there wouldn't be many posts on GN. Jess is posing some very valid questions - how could it work? The whole problem at the moment with so much policy is a) there's no evidence base and b) no one has thought through the operational issues

Aka Mon 13-May-13 16:11:27

Get off your high horse Bluebell

bluebell Mon 13-May-13 16:17:57

That's rich Aka after your post to Jess!! Why don't you try arguing your case - oh sorry that assumes a) you've got a case to argue and b) the intellectual ability to argue it

Aka Mon 13-May-13 16:25:03

To go back to the OP, it is the job of the Border Agency to stop illegal immigrants in the first place, but then having got through how else can they be traced? We have plenty of legal immigrants and genuine asylum seekers who need support and housing without adding illegals into the equation. Many illegal immigrants are horribly exploited .. consider the case of the Morecambe Bay Cocklers as an example. Then there are the girls who are brought to this country to service the sex trade, who thought they'd be working as waitresses or nannies. Many illegal immigrants are more sinned against than sinners. So it's not just a question of thinking this is a gut reaction to the pathetic policies of UKIP but actually starting to formulate some kind of policy that might work.

Aka Mon 13-May-13 16:26:28

Bluebell our posts have crossed. Your reply doesn't do you any credit.

JessM Mon 13-May-13 16:28:38

Given your tone not sure that you are really interested in discussing aka But I will give a serious answer.
Difficult for me to say where they live, seeing as neither I nor the government have any idea how many illegal immigrants there are in the country or which boroughs they live in. Best guess is that if they do exist in any numbers, they are working for employers who do not comply with employment legislation (because compliant employers check visas and passports), earning very low wages and consequently living in desperately overcrowded accommodation that does not comply with any of the licencing legislation for housing in multiple occupation (HMOs). Or indeed others may be living in accommodation that is provided for them by those who are exploiting them.

Aka Mon 13-May-13 16:33:11

Jess our posts crossed too and amazingly we are saying the same thing. However I'd like to know exactly what tone you mean? I thought I was introducing a touch of humour in with my comment about the Wombles.