LETTING & ESTATE AGENT

Eight in ten tenants happy with immigrant status checks

Eight in ten tenants happy with immigrant status checks

Most tenants say they would be perfectly happy to undergo immigrant checks.

According to the National Landlords Association, 87% would have no objection, and 82% think it is fair that tenants should be required to provide evidence of their immigration status.

Just 18% of tenants do not want to share their immigration status with their landlord.

The NLA conducted the research among 605 tenants in August after the Government announced plans to make immigrant checks mandatory in the private rented sector.

In its formal response to the official consultation, the NLA raised a number of concerns:

    •    Firstly, the expectation that landlords should carry out periodic checks throughout the term of a tenancy is unrealistic. Ongoing checking should remain the responsibility of the appropriate authorities, and the duty to report over-staying households could present a distinct danger to landlords in a small but significant number of instances.?
    •    The system must be made clear, accessible and easy to comply with. Doubt about requirements or uncertainty about how to comply may result in landlords favouring applications for accommodation from households which are easier to verify. This would be unhealthy for the diversity of communities, the private-rented sector and the perception of private landlords and could lead to further shortages of available housing.?
    •    Private landlords tend to interview prospective tenants in the properties they wish to let. They may therefore have reduced access to office equipment such as photocopiers and fax machines. These limitations must be taken into account when devising guidance and support materials.

Carolyn Uphill, NLA chairman, said: “It is reassuring that the majority of tenants are comfortable with the concept of expanded tenant checks – in particular immigration checks. Tenant checking is an essential process for assessing the potential risk of default and we advise all landlords to conduct such checks before granting a tenancy.

“However, it is also somewhat concerning that nearly a fifth (18%) of tenants do not want to share their immigration status with their landlord.

“It is essential that all tenants comply with the rules, when introduced. If landlords are to be held responsible for non-compliance, they must not let property to those who refuse to follow the imminent legislation.

“I hope that our response to the consultation will ensure the Government considers the practicalities of immigration checks before the legislation is passed.”