Some of Greg Clark’s (Communities Secretary) initiatives to give landlords the power to evict illegal immigrants makes a good deal of sense since if you are involved in this debacle life can be ‘hell’ in trying to get vacant possession back again.
This is consistent with the Tory governments cleansing of ‘red tape’ which the previous Labour administration have shown a great ability to ‘spew out’.
The problem lies with the onus being on the landlords to check the status of the tenant when there is so much other compliance to go through with a letting. By the time you have dealt with money laundering and The Estate Agency Act, amongst other pre-letting procedures, you have bound yourself with so many administrative tasks that the actual letting itself becomes secondary.
The government should take some of the burden away from business by taking on some of the responsibilities themselves using their statutory powers to enforce procedure.
HMRC already impose a requirement on the lettings agent to raise money for them from rent due to the landlord and, should the clients default, the agent is responsible for the client’s liability to them.
All this unpaid work is making life so tedious that it is starting to become not worth doing the job at all!
We have to be careful here that health and safety, data protection, in addition to all the other responsibilities, does not result in the ‘operative procedure is perfect but the patient dies’ as the expression goes.
Written by Trevor Abrahmsohn.
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