Gross stupidity

Private landlords will be legally responsible for ensuring that they only let properties to people allowed to be in Britain under immigration laws to be announced in tomorrow’s Queen’s Speech.


Ministers are expected to say that the legal requirements on landlords will affect those letting rooms in multi-occupancy properties. However, the measure will be universal and it will be the responsibility of all landlords to seek copies of passports and appropriate visas.

It is unclear how people are supposed to establish the authenticity of the information. The level of fines is also yet to be set but will run into “thousands of pounds”.

There are several million private landlords. All now have to act as narks for the Border Police. And that\’s only part of it.

What will be the cost of checking on the immigration status of someone? Is there a simple government database that can be accessed for, say, a fiver, to check whether documents and or visas are real and legal? No? So every private landlord now needs to become an expert in immigration law?

What will actually happen is this. People will be asked for a passport. If they\’ve got an EU one then they\’ll be allowed to rent. If they haven\’t, they won\’t. Those Brits without a passport will be shit out of luck. As will all foreign students etc.

Except for the slum landlords who will be happy enough to take the risks in return for rack rental rates.

This really is a fucking stupid idea.

35 thoughts on “Gross stupidity”

  1. It’s ‘cos they’ve got nuttin better to do and they have to justify the salary somehow.

    More control has to be good even if it is unworkable and unaffordable and what the hell does a landlord have to do with the legal status of a renter? Oooh! Looks really nasty to me.

    Was reading the EU seed control thingy yesterday.

    This is becoming absolutely unbelievable. Talk about control freak creep!

  2. So Much For Subtlety

    I think it is worse than that. The origin of this is probably simple – they have no cash. They have no money for funding a proper scheme. Any sort of proper scheme whether it is checking on illegals or even policing the borders. They are certainly not competent enough to run such a scheme either.

    So they will out source enforcement to the rest of us. On the one hand it looks like they are doing something, even though they are not. On the other hand they can get more dosh when they fine hapless little old women who rented to that nicely spoken young lad from Zimbabwe.

    They are vile little c**ts.

  3. At the risk of invoking Godwin’s law, this just one step short of “Vere are your papers?”

  4. And what about sub-lets?
    The landlord has no control over them.
    Looks like BTL landlords are the next targets for “banker-bashing”

  5. Good news for letting agents. They’ll just add “visa checking” to the already long list of rules & regs that a thorough letting agent already checks, like ensuring you have gas safety certificate, that furniture complies with fire safety rules etc.

    Of course this will involve letting agents upping their fees, of course.

    For those letting privately it is much trickier. But isn’t this already an issue if you employ a cleaner, au pair or gardener. You have to check they have a proper work visa, even if only a couple of hours dusting a week. And I recall a certain Labour legal lady getting into trouble on this account.

  6. At the margin this will surely reduce teh number of rental properties available in the UK (bad for economic growth and job mobility) and decrease the amount of new build.

    Any potential buy-to-letter with 300k to burn will think twice about buying that 2 bed flat in the new development in the city centre as risk of getting a bad tenant has just got costlier.

    So will stuff the 300k in a unit trust instead and UK property developers have less cash to invest in new properties.

  7. This is the second attempt in a few days by the government to outflank UKIP from the right.

    First they floated the idea that pensioners who have never lived in the UK should not get pensions of their spouses. This is pretty low.

    Now this.

    I hope Nigel Farage will distance himself from these sorts of policy and just state that the UKBA needs to do its job rather than foist it on landlords.

  8. Sure it’s a fucking stupid idea, but I bet many of those BTLers are in the forriners out mainstream. So should be happy to contribute to keeping the forriners out, no?

  9. We employers already have to do this. End Result? You really, really, don’t want to take anybody on, even if you could do with a few more people. We have had to become expers in immigration law without the power to actually check on a prospective employee’s status.

  10. Protecting our borders is one of the reasons we have a government. If they can’t be bothered to do it, why do we pay them?

  11. My first reaction was that it’s a daft idea, but how would this actually work, in practice? As a landlord, you could all-but ignore it with anyone obviously native. You’d have to see a passport for EU people, but that’s normal enough already. Non-EU migrants ought to either have a visa, or confirmation of ILTR. (There are also asylum seekers and others with indeterminate status, but when they register as such they get paperwork confirming it.

    As long as the responsibility in case of the tenant having committed fraud – for example, using fake visa documentation – is on the tenant, then it’s not going to actually be hard for landlords to comply. It’s also going to be trivial for illegals to fake the paperwork, of course, so the whole scheme falls down there.

  12. Is it even going to stop it?

    Crimes work when there’s a victim. Someone who will go to the authorities and tell them what the bad man did.

    You’ve got a Indian man living in a house – does the landlord care? Does the Indian care? If you’re a white guy living next door, do you care, and even if you do, are you going to call the police on suspicion?

    A few grand? So, 3 or 4 months’ rent? If you have an empty house, might as well risk it.

  13. Rental law is largely devolved.

    I wonder what Wales and Scotland will do?

    They need to decide whether tenants MUST BE LEFT ALONE ON PAIN OF A CRIMINAL OFFENCE (as until now) or must be micromanaged.

  14. Dave, who is an obvious native? Someone who speaks English without a foreign sounding accent and is white? Europeans could fake an accent. Non whites can be English. To everyone else you could being racist to. Unintended consequence of this stupid and silly law? More racism.

    Oh, and the responsibility? That will be with the landlord. They’ll be easier to arrest them than a illegal who has scarpered. Just see how they handled responsibility over smoking in pubs.

  15. SBML>

    I was being slightly tongue-in-cheek on the ‘native’ bit, having just been dealing with SMFS in the other thread. It’ll be easy enough to prove someone’s a native, but can’t just be assumed.

  16. No one else detected a sub-agenda here? Or maybe the primary agenda?
    Another recent announcement was free NHS treatment will not be available to Romanians & Bulgarians.
    Question is, of course, how does the ordinary Brit prove they’re not on the guv’mint shit list? Without encouraging the e-evils of raycism TM Dave) inherent in letting folks make the obvious inferences.
    They’re gonna have another go for ID cards, people.

  17. Having rented quite a bit in London, most agency checks would already pick up if you were here illegally. so most of the rental sector will be unaffected.
    The more causal rental sector won’t care as they often break lots of other rules anyway.

    Most illegals live in fairly dodgy accomidation in London already (Sheds in Newham for example), so I can’t see this being effective.

  18. Bloke in spain said: *They’re gonna have another go for ID cards, people.*

    Yes. And they are not going to give us the real reasons why they want ID cards – the national insurance number system is in a poor state and the government have no idea who or how many people are in the UK.

    If they want to socialise the cost of public services and justify high taxes they need to know how many people will need them and how many people will be paying for them.

    If they want to operate an open border policy (as they largely have for more than a decade) it would surely be much easier to make public services self funding pay as you go affairs to prevent freeloading and leave it at that.

  19. Let’s just admit that the UK government has lost control of its immigration to Brussels. These policies are just an attempt to annoy immigrants without upsetting Brussels. It’s pathetic.

  20. Bring on the piano wire folks .

    The reasons for NOT rising up and slaughtering the bastards seem to be running rather thin.

    @MI6 – NB this is a purely rhetorical post and not to be confused with incitement to murder.

  21. …having just been dealing with SMFS in the other thread.

    More like SMFS (and others) dealing pretty effectively with you, dickhead.

  22. Government by headline, with the headlines written by cretins briefed by morons.

    That just about says all that needs to be said about this lot.

  23. Curious Tim. UKIP policy, which I suppose you endorse, is to have very strict controls on immigration. So what do you propose as a non-stupid way to achieve that? Electronic tagging of everyone visiting the country? Strip all lorries coming in down to the chassis? Or make it harder for illegal immigrants to live and work here undetected?

  24. I don’t think they are going for a new ID card–unless it is a very pale imitation of the old one.
    They know that to revive the defunct system would cost billions and still be a mess and there are still several million people who will not comply.

    Some new, paler program might be considered but, on the cheap, it would be an ineffective mess also and still millions won’t comply. The political scum don’t have the stones.

    The Senior Civil Service is where most of this shit comes from–they want the power and control–and that is why they should all be instantly sacked without a penny compensation and their pensions confiscated. That would save us all a packet and do a huge amount to destroy the march to tyranny in this country.

  25. So, the state encourages immigration to this country from the 50s onward–esp the deliberate policy under ZaNuLab of encouraging immigrants to “upset” tories (they must have thought they’d all settle in leafy Surrey) and now the rest of us have to be under the tyranny of state ID systems and also act as unpaid Stasi for the scum of the state–to solve a problem that the state caused in the first place.

  26. I would point out that the level of government ID surveillance, mostly carried out through roads and licensing but also through ID, passport and NI records, is extremely high in this country in comparison to any other country in this world. The sum effect of CCTV-UK so far has been mostly limited to the enforcement of traffic laws. It has not had any effect on immigration. So I don’t see any real basis for an objection to a ‘where are your papers’ culture. Wouldn’t it be better to have to carry papers than an RFID card?

    There are a number of reasons for the rising priority of immigration policy. First, immigration has been a hot issue for the general public for well over a decade, to no effect. It does not penetrate government but only throws a spanner in the works of the old right vs left political divide. No longer is it a case of unions vs management, or vice versa. It’s now a case of a divided, unrepresented working majority trying to become holders of capital and land while simultaneously fighting tooth and nail over low-paid unskilled work (‘they’re coming over here and taking our jobs’).

    The UKIP solution is invested in the person of Nigel Farage. Without that guy, the party is nothing. And who is he? A member of the same socio-economic privileged elite as Cameron and Milliband. How come the ‘solution’ comes from the same quarter as the problem? Doesn’t this strike anyone as odd? He solicits the City of London Corporation for their support, and still he’s thought to be on the side of the ‘people’. Does it matter that without the charisma and skill of Farage, the UKIP threat would be nil? All other parties are now based on systems rather than a charismatic orator. I fail to see what system underpins UKIP. Farage hasn’t done anything to develop that daisy-chaining system of progression to leadership or policy development within his party. In this country we don’t like charismatic orators any more. So I would guess a transition to the right is on the cards and this plays into Barroso’s hands more than anyone suspects.

    I sense a real and rising climate of panic among many, in relation to immigration. It strikes me as somewhat aberrant. Immigration and overpopulation, whether from European lands or further afield, benefits holders of land and capital. Unskilled, cheap immigrants are heavily exploited by major construction firms as well as middle England for no other reason than cost advantage. It’s a good scheme for the immigrants (whether legal or illegal) and nobody picks up the tax and regulatory burden. It’s a win-win situation for farmers as all their hands are illegal at picking time (the idea of paying the

  27. Skillful Art:Won’t carry either papers or RFID. Me and several million others . Enough to fuck up any such scheme and make it unworkable and even more expensive–for now. They will revive it in a few years time. There is already a generation growing up that is willing to accept fingerprinting for –what was it?–access to school dinners if I remember right. They are trained and conditioned. They will carry the card or the chip.

  28. Most p

    For anyone born in the UK before 1983, a British birth certificate is for all practical purposes proof of citizenship. For someone born in the UK after 1983, it is not, and if you do not have a UK passport, the collection of documents that you need to prove UK citizenship is reasonably complex and varies from person to person. There are tens of millions of British people who do not have passports, and have no obvious way of demonstrating to a landlord or rental agent that they are legally in the country, even though they have probably never left it.

    (And yes, I agree that the ID cards agenda is once again lurking in the background here).

  29. The correct way to deal with these tossers is simple. Yes, landlords must check residency. But in return the landlords costs must be met by the Home Office – and obviously there will be no increase in the HO budget so we’ll have to fire a few thousand of the useless tossers to pay for it.

    Ditto with CRB checks and all the other crap the HO dumps on the public.

  30. @ Michael Jennings, Dave et al
    There were, at one time, three copies of my birth certificate – my mother wasn’t willing to entrust the original to the post when my school wanted one to enter me for GCE, so we got a copy and the school forgot to return it until my college asked for it and, as it was school holidays, we got a third. The birth certificate is NOT proof without a witness who can testify that this is the guy/gal named on the certificate.
    Who is going to decide who needs to be checked? Mr de Vere Beauclerk sounds French but as the 14th Duke of St Alban’s he is hardly a recent immigrant (except compared to my father who, with a German surname was entitled to, and did, play for Wales: my mother’s family, being descended from Saxon’s – her uncle traced it back to tenth century yeoman – are more recent but predate the Beauclerks).
    How on earth is a landlord to know whether I am brandishing my birth certificate or some imposter is waving a copy (OK, no-one can seriously pretend to be me but I hope that you get my point)?

  31. I can’t see this having any practical effect apart from loads of people wasting their time… certainly doesn’t seem likely to have any effect on illegal immigration.

    Talking of wasted time, and stupid rules and regulations… Have you bought a house recently? I had loads of grief when I bought mine as I had no address (I was staying on various friends’ sofas a couple of weeks at a stretch), I’ve never held a UK passport (although I’m a uk national by birth), and my birth certificate is Australian… and when you buy a house, just about everyone involved now has to put my ID on file “to prevent money laundering”. I never knew that buying up tatty old ex council houses (via a mortgage) was such a popular money laundering scheme!

    Did someone up thread mention piano wire? I think the phrase is “hanging is too good for ’em”

  32. One further thought – why on earth do they think unsuccessfully cracking down on illegal immigrants (all three of them or whatever it is), will impress voters who are complaining almost entirely about legal eastern european immigration?

  33. @ #33 theProle
    Firstly because it will distract attention from their inability to do anything about legal eastern european immigration
    Secondly it’s a lot more than three – did you notice the howls of outrage when the government clamped down on a “university” which had repeatedly failed to check whether any of those whom it invited were actually students? Illegal immigration is less of a problem than legal immigration but when there is a housing shortage every little hurts.

  34. Voters are complaining almost entirely about legal eastern european immigration? That’s news to me – the UKIP poster I saw said “Say no to mass immigration”, nothing about Europe.

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