Landlords face fines for exploiting immigrants

Landlords who exploit illegal immigrants in overcrowded flats could be fined as much as £20,000 by the Home Office.

Home secretary John Reid wants to crack down on illegal immigration. This includes tackling landlords using their properties to house people who have entered the country illegally.

A report published last week examines ways to enforce compliance with British immigration laws. It sets out Whitehall plans to work with councils to support their enforcement obligations under rules regarding houses in multiple occupancy and tackle overcrowding where it overlaps with immigration enforcement.

Landlords found to be harbouring immigrants in conditions that may convene health and safety laws will be fined up to £20,000, with the occupants removed from the premises.

Reid says rooting out such landlords “tackles a root cause of the resentment about immigration”.

He adds: “This practice makes life in this country more uncomfortable and constrained for people who come here illegally. Stopping it is a tough-minded but fair approach, grounded in modern British values.”

A spokesman for the Association of Residential Letting Agents says: “You don’t always know what is going on in a property but letting agents should have a good idea if immigrants are being illegally housed on the premises and they should act accordingly.

“We would not deal with the people who are getting up to this sort of thing. We only deal with respectable agents and the sort of landlords who are involved with housing illegal immigrants are probably the sort of people you wouldn’t want to take home to your mother for tea.”