Reports have suggested that concern among landlords is growing over new UK immigration rules.
Changes to the UK immigration law will mean that from next year landlords will be held responsible for checking the immigration status of their tenants. If they are found to have failed to carry out certain checks on new tenancy agreements, a fine of £3,000 may be imposed.
However, the changes are causing concern among landlords, who are worries that they will be lumbered with an unfair burden. Landlord Assist has claimed that it is unfair to impose these new responsibilities on landlords who will not necessarily have the required knowledge and expertise to carry them out.
Stephen Parry, commercial director with Landlord Assist, commented: "Without proper education and training it is not viable to expect landlords and letting agents to be able to robustly police the government's immigration strategy."
He added that agents already carry out identity checks on prospective tenants but suggested that it is a "bridge too far" to expect them to also "decipher Home Office documentation or visa documents".
Landlords who do not let their property through an agency are thought to be particularly vulnerable, with 85 per cent of illegal immigrants thought to be living in privately rented accommodation.
Landlord Assist's managing director Graham Kinnear said: "Landlords who don’t use a letting agent to rent out their properties should be mindful that they may be targeted by individuals who do not have the necessary documentation. We urge landlords to be vigilant with this matter and keep a close eye on their responsibilities."
His colleague Mr Parry concluded by requesting that the government provide "appropriate guidance notes" on immigration checks if this is an area that they wish the rental sector to monitor.