Both landlords and letting agents have slammed the Government’s proposal to hugely increase fines for property managers who breach existing Right to Rent check laws.
The National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) has labelled the measure a ‘gimmick’ while Propertymark says the vast majority of landlords and agents are already carrying out their duties perfectly well under Right to Rent.
NRLA chief executive Ben Beadle (main picture) told The Telegraph that piling pressure on landlords would merely fail to deal with the root cause of immigration and “make it more difficult for poorer British nationals to find housing because they are more likely not to have passports or driving licences they can use to prove their citizenship status”.
The new fines for landlords will increase from £80 per lodger and £1,000 per occupier for a first breach to up to £5,000 per lodger and £10,000 per occupier.
Repeat breaches will be up to £10,000 per lodger and £20,000 per occupier, up from £500 and £3,000 respectively. The higher penalties will come in at the start of 2024.
Beadle added: “The announcement is little more than a gimmick. There’s no substance behind it. Rather than cracking down on illegal migration, they’re trying to crack down on landlords.
“Rather than doing something directly, you’re relying effectively on a small army of landlords and letting agents to do your dirty work for you.
“And rather than bring them along with you on the journey, you’re saying that landlords and letting agents have a problem.”
Beadle also said the higher fines would be perceived by landlords as ‘yet another’ attack on them by the Government and that the low level of fines – just 80 a year on average – proves landlords are not the problem.