this year the Prime Minister announced the Government's intention
to require private landlords to check the immigration status of new
tenants. The necessary legislation will be included in an
Immigration Bill to be introduced this autumn.
The Borders Agency has published a
consultation paper explaining the policy and proposing how the
requirement will work. While the measures are primarily aimed at
private landlords, there are significant implications for councils,
and ARCH members are strongly advised to read the consultation
paper and consider responding.
The requirement for landlords to make checks is closely modelled
on the existing requirement on employers to check the immigration
status of employees. It would apply to all properties let for
occupation as the tenant's only or main home, but not to student or
tourist lets, accommodation occupied in connection with employment,
or to leaseholds or shared ownership.
The requirement is not proposed to be retrospective; it would
apply to new tenancies only. Views are invited on whether the
requirement to make checks should apply to people taking in lodgers
or sub-tenants, including council tenants. If this policy were
adopted, councils would be expected to bring the requirement to the
attention of any of their tenants affected.
The great majority of council lettings would be excluded from the
policy as the Government does not wish to duplicate existing
requirements applying to council waiting lists and homelessness
policies. However, there is a suggestion that the new requirement
would apply to council lettings to tenants not on the waiting list
or assessed as homeless.
In putting together an ARCH response to these proposals, I would
very much welcome the views on member councils on these two points
- whether the requirement should apply to lodgers and subtenants,
and lettings other than to applicants homeless or on the waiting
list. On the latter point, who and how many tenancies would be
affected? The deadline for responses to the Borders Agency is
21 August 2013.