Racist threat from new land­lords law

The Church of England - - NEWS -

NEW IM­MI­GRA­TION laws could pro­vide a char­ter for racist land­lords, the Bishop of New­cas­tle has warned.

The Im­mi­gra­tion Bill, which is cur­rently go­ing through the House of Lords, will re­quire land­lords to check the pa­per­work of all ten­ants and lodgers to make sure they are legally al­lowed to re­main in the UK.

Land­lords who fail to com­ply could face fines of up to £3,000 per il­le­gal im­mi­grant they have housed.

Bishop Whar­ton said: “One of my con­cerns about this part of the Bill is that many land­lords will sim­ply not rent to any­one who seems to be for­eign or who does not hold a Bri­tish pass­port for fear of get­ting it wrong and be­ing fined.

“I am afraid that that will in­ad­ver­tently re­sult in fur­ther racial dis­crim­i­na­tion and pro­vide a char­ter for those un­scrupu­lous land­lords who are racist.”

He said in re­sponse to a con­sul­ta­tion on the pro­pos­als the Govern­ment had ac­cepted that the new rules might pro­voke land­lords to dis­crim­i­nate against people they per­ceived to be for­eign rather than con­duct proper checks.

He ques­tioned whether the guid­ance to be given to land­lords telling them to obey the UK’s equal­ity leg­is­la­tion was enough.

“It sim­ply re­quires land­lords to read the code and ad­here to it with­out any re­dress at all if they do not,” he said dur­ing com­mit­tee stage de­bate on the Bill.

“More­over, it will be ex­tremely dif­fi­cult and costly for any po­ten­tial ten­ant to bring a chal­lenge of dis­crim­i­na­tion or vic­tim­i­sa­tion against a pri­vate land­lord.

“If people can­not rent rel­a­tively eas­ily, they will be forced to seek ac­com­mo­da­tion in the more shad­owy parts of the hous­ing mar­ket.”

But Home Of­fice min­is­ter Lord Tay­lor of Hol­beach drew a par­al­lel with the checks em­ploy­ers have to carry out and sug­gested there was not “wide­spread ev­i­dence of racial dis­crim­i­na­tion” in the workplace as a re­sult.

“I think it is to the great credit of this coun­try that it is able to wel­come people, and this is cer­tainly not a Bill that is de­signed to make people un­wel­come, as long as they have a right to come here and to re­main here,” he told Bishop Whar­ton.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.