Included in his speech on immigration controls last week, Prime Minister David Cameron said the Government intends to roll out plans to have all landlords check the status of immigrants who rent their property following a pilot in the West Midlands.
But landlords and their representatives were taken by surprise by a mention in the speech about plans for a mandatory national landlord licensing system due to be announced in the Queen’s Speech later this week at the opening of the new parliament.
Few details were given but he talked about new rules to be introduced allowing landlords to evict illegal immigrants more quickly.
“There are other ways we can identify those who shouldn’t be here, for example through housing. For the first time we’ve had landlords checking whether their tenants are here legally. The Liberal Democrats only wanted us to run a pilot on that one. But now we’ve got a majority, we will roll it out nationwide, and we’ll change the rules so landlords can evict illegal immigrants more quickly.
“We’ll also crack down on the unscrupulous landlords who cram houses full of illegal migrants, by introducing a new mandatory licensing regime. And, a bit like ending jobs when visas expire, we’ll consult on cancelling tenancies automatically at the same point. It’s not just through housing and jobs; we can track down illegal migrants through the banking system too.”
Professional associations representing landlords are now eagerly waiting more details of the proposed scheme when the Queen’s Speech takes place on Wednesday.
The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) chairman Alan Ward has already written to the immigration minister James Brokenshaw requesting an urgent meeting to discuss the proposals. He has said:
“No form of universal licensing of rented property is proven to capture the most unscrupulous landlords. As so often, the devil will be in the detail,”
David Cox, managing director of the Association of Residential Lettings Agents (ARLA) has said:
“We are pleased to see the Government listened to our housing manifesto calls for greater regulation of the private rented sector. However, whilst this is a step in the right direction, it’s not the full solution to the problem of rogue agents plaguing the market.
“We urge the Government to take this opportunity and impose more appropriate, over-arching regulation on the whole lettings industry. We look forward to hearing the full details of the plans in the Queen’s Speech.”
You can read the full Prime Minister’s speech here
— LandlordZONE® (@LandlordZONE) May 26, 2015