Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Criminal offence to rent property to illegal immigrants - guilty landlords face 5 years in jail

Last year was momentous for the UK – the vote to leave the European Union or 'Brexit', a new UK Prime Minister (Theresa May), a new U.S. President elect, Donald Trump, who will be sworn in this Friday, as well more new Immigration Rules from the Home Office.

Trump has promised to get tough on undocumented migrants by, among other measures, ending the rights of so-called 'anchor babies' - born on American soil to undocumented migrants - to obtain U.S. Citizenship. In the UK, unlike the U.S., citizenship is not granted by virtue of being born here. However, human rights grounds have been widely used to legalise the parents of children born in the UK.

In February 2016, I informed my readers that, as part of Government plans to crack down on illegal immigration, private landlords in England should be carrying out mandatory "right-to-rent" checks on tenants for all new tenancies, Many do not know how or perhaps don't bother. They should start learning, and fast. Landlords can be fined up to £3000 for letting a property to anyone who does not have the right to reside in the UK. 

But things are about to get even tougher under new rules recently announced by Home Secretary Amber Rudd.

From 1 December, the Home Office made it a criminal offence if a landlord knows or have “reasonable cause to believe” that their property is occupied by someone who is disqualified due to their immigration status. Convicted landlords can face a jail term of up to 5 years - yes, PRISON, and a criminal record. 

The National Landlords Association (NLA) say landlords may avoid a criminal conviction provided they have a 'robust defence' and can demonstrate that they have taken appropriate steps to check a tenant's immigration status. 

The new Home Office restrictions will make it more difficult for visa overstayers and illegal immigrants to rent accommodation. They are already finding it harder to open a bank account or work in the UK without a work permit or the correct UK visa.

Landlords must carry out proper checks and keep records to prove it. The civil penalties still apply in addition to the new criminal offence for more serious cases.

I hope 2017 will be a good year for you, whether you want to earn more money, travel, stay healthy or just be happy!

1 comment:

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