RLA: Questions remain over immigration plans

RLA: Questions remain over immigration plans

Serious questions hang over the Prime Minister’s plans to clamp down on illegal immigration, according to the Residential Landlords Association (RLA).

In his speech on the Government’s plans David Cameron called for the national roll out of proposals to make landlords legally responsible for checking the immigration status of their tenants.

He also called for a new licensing scheme to tackle landlords who “cram” their houses full of illegal immigrants and powers to make it easier for landlords to evict tenants in private rented housing.

The RLA is writing to the immigration minister James Brokenshire MP seeking an urgent meeting to discuss the proposals, which raise many questions.

The RLA questions why the Prime Minister is confirming the national roll out of the plans before assessing the impact of the pilot in the West Midlands.

The Prime Minister’s proposal to make it easier to evict illegal immigrants causes potential confusion over the recent budget announcement to permit sub-letting and also changes brought in under the Deregulation Act, which make it easier for tenants to resist eviction. The plans also fail to answer whether this would override laws enabling landlords to regain possession of their properties contained within the 1988 Housing Act.

Proposals to introduce a new licensing scheme to address the problem of overcrowded homes also seem at odds with comments by the housing minister in March, as he suggested such regulations amounted to a “tenants' tax”.

Alan Ward, chairman of the RLA, 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.”

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