Landlords to Check Passports

The Telegraph reports that as part of the Queen’s Speech, almost 2m private buy-to-let landlords will be legally responsible for ensuring that they only let properties to people allowed to be in Britain under immigration laws.

The paper comments that the details of how the measures will be implemented will be set out later in the year but that Ministers are expected to say that the legal requirements on landlords will affect those letting rooms in multi-occupancy properties.

However, the measure will be universal and it will be the responsibility of all landlords to seek copies of passports and appropriate visas and it is thought that fines for landlords found in breach of the new rules will run into thousands of pounds.

Employers will also face more substantial fines for taking on illegal immigrants.

Source: The Daily Telegraph

We say: Okay…roll back one second. So the answer to HM’s struggling Border Control situation is: make everyone else accountable for catching and identifying the immigrants they shouldn’t have allowed in the first place? Genius! And how very marvellously Orwellian.

While we see the idea has many merits from HM Government’s perspective – this will be a HUGE administrative burden for the landlord with a number of properties, lots of tenant turnaround and relatively short lets. And how should they verify the integrity of the documents? It’s frighteningly easy to obtain fake ID papers from the internet these days – plus the average Joe property-owner won’t necessarily be familiar with the intricacies of a, say, Bulgarian passport. Oh, and did we mention, the fines are said to run into the thousands of pounds?

We imagine the task will ultimately end up an additional (expensive) procedure that the managing agents run for landlords alongside maintaining the deposit-scheme, but at such a cost for landlords, with (forgive us for presuming) no rebate from tax or NI contributions to compensate them for helping run the state.

…when the Prime Minister said earlier in the year that immigration needed to be “properly controlled” – is this really what he meant?

All views expressed in the BKL Blog are those of individual contributors and may not reflect those of Berg Kaprow Lewis LLP



Sam Inkersole

In 2022, Sam won the Taxation’s Rising Star award at the Taxation Awards in and was named in the Accountancy Age 35 Under 35.

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