In his speech on the changes the Government is proposing with regards to immigration (expected to be included in the Queen’s speech next week), David Cameron has announced plans that will have a significant impact on landlords.
He has highlighted housing as one of the key ways in which illegal immigrants can be identified.
There has been a pilot scheme running whereby landlords had to check that tenants were here legally. This will now be rolled out nationwide.
The Government also plans to cancel tenancies automatically at the same point when visas expire.
Apparently the Government will also change the rules so that landlords will be able to evict illegal immigrants more quickly.
But the big one is the new mandatory licensing regime. We don’t know what this will entail or who it will apply to – whether landlords or letting agents or, most probably, both.
What we do know is that it will undoubtedly add to the already considerable burden and pressure on landlords. It may also reduce the number of properties available to rent as landlords sell up.
Is this really the right approach?
There are some “unscrupulous landlords”, as Mr. Cameron calls them, who cram houses full of illegal migrants, but this is a minority. I do question whether a mandatory licensing scheme is the right approach to deal with this.
It seems too heavy handed and onerous on landlords, especially where there is a critical shortage in housing. The immigration status checks and ending of tenancies when visas expire is also additional administration and cost. passed down to landlords.
And if it’s going to be made easier for landlords to evict illegal immigrants, can Mr. Cameron please also make it easier for all landlords to evict tenants, regardless of their residency status, more quickly by allowing them to use High Court Enforcement Officers without the need to apply to the court for permission!
You can read the full transcript of the speech here.
David is an authorised High Court Enforcement Officer and our Director of Corporate Governance