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Posted on June 19th 2014 by admin-movingin

Fear that agents “wont understand immigration papers”

Many letting agents and landlords will not understand complex immigration documents “which even border officials have difficulties understanding” according to a leading property consultancy.

Under the Immigration Act, which will take effect from October, lettings agents , private landlords and even those taking in lodgers under the national ‘Rent-A-Room’ scheme will have to vet their tenants to ensure they are legally entitled to reside in the country.

 There will be fines running into thousands of pounds for those failing to undertake the necessary checks or failing to prevent illegal immigrants from renting.

Now Simon Perkins, a partner at the Nottingham and Mansfield agency PWR Property Consultants, has become the first agent to say that although the new measure may help drive some rogue tenants and landlords out of the market, there will a significant cost for the industry.

The new legislation will mean that both letting agents and landlords will need to ensure that all tenants have a so-called Right to Rent he says. As a result, extra checks on prospective tenants looking to rent a property will need to be made before they are allowed to move in.

“There is huge concern against letting agents and landlords, that many will not be equipped to correctly interpret the complex documents that even border officials have difficulties understanding” he says.

Industry bodies including RICS and the NLA have voiced their opposition to the scheme, with some suggesting that the government was wrong to ask landlords and agents to operate as an arm of the Border Control service.

A so-called ‘Impact Assessment’ statement issued by the government claims that at the moment “housing is an important enabler of illegal migration” which is why agents and landlords will be required to check residency status from October onwards.

“The policy is also intended to tackle the exploitation of migrants by rogue landlords” claims the government.