Landlords who are concerned by the government’s plans to make them responsible for carrying out immigration checks on potential tenants should seek the help of a letting agent.
This is according to ARLA, which has released the results of a survey that shows even experienced rental property owners are worried by the coalition’s proposals.
The government is hoping to introduce a new Immigration Bill, which will make landlords legally responsible for checking whether any tenants they take on have a right to the live in the UK.
However, the plans have caused unease in the private rented sector and ARLA’s survey found 55.2 per cent of landlords would not be confident in their ability to carry out immigration checks. A further 21.8 per cent said they are unsure if they would even be able to complete the process properly.
Only 22.9 per cent of respondents claimed they are confident they will be able to handle the checks.
ARLA said this level of concern is worrying considering the majority of landlords are highly experienced. Research by the organisation found the average rental property owner is now 54 years old and has a portfolio of 8.7 properties, which is the highest number since ARLA started taking records in 2004.
Landlords are also owning homes for longer, with the average lifespan of a rental property estimated at 19.9 years – another record high.
Ian Potter, ARLA managing director, stated: “Checking the immigration status of prospective tenants is a sensitive and potentially lengthy task. It’s perhaps not surprising that even experienced landlords are concerned about exercising these new duties.”
He claimed the wide range of immigration document that would need to be checked makes the process particularly complicated.
“I would urge anyone who is seeking expert advice on a new tenancy, is re-letting a property, or is entering the sector for the first time to consult with an ARLA agent,” Mr Potter stated.