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United Kingdom: Proposal to Jail Landlords Who Rent to Illegal Immigrants

(Aug. 12, 2015) The government of the United Kingdom has recently proposed measures that would create new offenses applicable to landlords who knowingly rent to illegal immigrants. The proposed measures will be two-pronged. On the one hand, they will allow landlords to end the tenancy of immigrants if the persons’ permission to remain in the UK has ended, in some cases removing the requirement that landlords obtain a court order to remove tenants from a property, and on the other they will create a new criminal offense that will target landlords who fail to check whether tenants are in the country lawfully or who fail to remove illegal immigrants from their property. (Press Release, Department for Communities and Local Government and the Rt. Hon. Greg Clark MP, New Measures to Crackdown on Illegal Immigrants Renting Properties (Aug. 3, 2015), GOV.UK; Department for Communities and Local Government, Tackling Rogue Landlords and Improving the Private Rental Sector: A Technical Discussion Paper [Tackling Rogue Landlords] (Aug. 2015), GOV.UK.)

Prior to renting any property, a landlord will be required to ask the applicant to provide evidence from a checklist of documents that shows that the applicant has permission to lawfully be in the UK. Failure to do so would be an offense punishable with a fine and/or up to five years’ imprisonment, and there is the possibility of additional sanctions under the existing Proceeds of Crime Act. (New Measures to Crackdown on Illegal Immigrants Renting Properties, supra; Tackling Rogue Landlords, supra; Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, c. 29, LEGISLATION.GOV.UK.) Additional legislation will provide for a blacklist of landlords and rental agents who consistently violate housing laws and will prohibit these individuals from renting out housing if they are shown to be repeat offenders. (New Measures to Crackdown on Illegal Immigrants Renting Properties, supra; Tackling Rogue Landlords, supra.)