As part of an initiative to deter illegal immigrants from settling in the UK, the government is planning to mandate that landlords and letting agents run immigration checks on tenants to ensure that they are legally eligible to reside in the country and have a so called right to rent. Beside making it almost impossible for illegal immigrants to find a permanent home, the new legislation also aims at getting tenancies canceled automatically as an occupant’s visa expires. The changes are set to roll out across England and Wales, with some cities in the West Midlands having undergone a pilot trial already.
Landlord immigration checks will increase costs for landlords – and tenants
However, in some cases, tenants will be the ones who have to pay for the extra costs. Letting agents are expected to raise fees to cover the cost of the checks, with the government estimating that tenants will have to foot an additional bill of up to £18m in fees over 10 years. According to the Financial Times, a breakdown of the costs for landlords includes the cost of an agent to carry out the checks (£100 per person); if necessary, the cost of serving an eviction notice (£1,500); the court costs of tenant eviction (£400); and, last but not least, the potential loss in rent during the process (the average rent of c. £1,500 per month in London and c. £750 outside) as some tenants might be unwilling to continue to pay their rent.