Tenants happy to disclose immigration status, research shows

New research reveals that 87 per cent of tenants are happy to disclose their immigration status when looking for private housing.

According to the latest Tenant Index from the National Landlords Association (NLA), 82 per cent think it is fair to require tenants to provide evidence of their immigration status.

In contrast, 18 per cent of tenants do not want to share their immigration status with their landlord, the research revealed.

Last July the government launched a consultation on plans to introduce a requirement for landlords to check the immigration status of tenants before letting property.  

In its formal response to the consultation, the NLA welcomed the plans for private landlords to play an integral role in developing and maintaining sustainable communities.

The NLA however, said the expectation that landlords should carry out periodic checks throughout the term of a tenancy was unrealistic. It said the on-going checking should be carried out by the appropriate authorities.

The UK’s leading organisation for private-residential landlords pointed out that the duty to report overstaying households could present a distinct danger to landlords in a small but significant number of instances.

The NLA also urged the government to make sure that the system for carrying out checks was made clear, accessible and easy to comply with.

The organization noted that doubt about requirements or uncertainty about how to comply may result in landlords favouring applications for accommodation from households which are easier to verify. This, the NLA said, would be unhealthy for the diversity of communities, the private-rented sector and the perception of private landlords and could lead to further shortages of available housing.

“It is reassuring that the majority of tenants are comfortable with the concept of expanded tenant checks – in particular immigration checks. Tenant checking is an essential process for assessing the potential risk of default and we advise all landlords to conduct such checks before granting a tenancy,” Carolyn Uphill, NLA Chairman said. “However it is also somewhat concerning that nearly a fifth (18%) of tenants do not want to share their immigration status with their landlord. It is essential that all tenants comply with the rules, when introduced. And if landlords are to be held responsible for non-compliance, they must not let property to those who refuse to follow the imminent legislation.”

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