Landlord or Borderguard?!

As of February 2016, Landlords of residential properties are now expected to check the right of their tenants to rent within the UK. This means proving that they have the sufficient documentation to prove themselves as a British citizen, or having the temporary or full right given to them to stay within our homely borders.

I’m a little torn on this one.

For a start, it is far more hassle and responsibility for us Landlords. As if we don’t have enough on our plates maintaining, referencing, sometimes dealing with unscrupulous tenants, paying tax after tax….and then being told we need to pay more tax….we now have to become a borderguard to our shores and interrogate our tenants before they even move in. Welcome indeed. We even get fined quite heavily if we’re found not to have done so. Landlords just can’t get much luck sometimes, hey.

However, on the other side of things, I think that we can only moan about our government not doing enough to tackle overcrowing, illegal immigration and all these other problems that Britain faces, if we’re willing to admit some responsibility and hold up our hands to help. The current immigration services are clearly overstretched, and government services are thin on the ground trying to find all those that have slipped through the net and are currently living in the UK without the full permission or responsibilities that come with doing so – it seems like a constant battle just to tred water, or fight the fire. For every one person found, another 10 come in. And all the time we’re all here moaning that it’s not enough. Well if that’s the case then we can hardly say no to helping the situation out when asked, which is what I see this new scheme as being.

And really, what does it actually entail? Hours and hours more work? No, not really. We as Landlords should already be referencing all of our tenants anyway, so now it’s just looking for a couple more documents to be photocopied, or asking a couple more questions. Or you can just get your agent to do it for you. Frustrating at times, maybe. But I’ve always been taught not to moan about something if you’re not then willing to help with the solution.

So, fellow Landlords. However we see it, this is not going away and we all need to become very aware of it. If you want any more information on the expectations, rules and regulations of this, a great summary article has been written here by the RLA, that goes into more depth about the legislations that have come in, and the obligations of all residential landlords.

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