Andy Burnham says the government is wrong to tell landlords not to let property to illegal immigrants. He thinks landlords should let property to whoever asks to rent, for fear of showing discrimination.
I have owned my own home for most of my adult lifetime, and I do not have a property to let out. I wish to see property to rent, at sensible prices, kept in good repair and made available to any UK legal resident who needs it. By the same reasoning I want to see tenants look after the property they rent, pay their rent on time, and stick to tenancy agreements. It takes a decent landlord and a co-operative tenant to have a good relationship.
Problems arise if either side violates these principles. Bad landlords overcharge on the rent and service charges. They may fail to maintain the property, might allow in other tenants who interfere with the neighbours’ peaceful enjoyment of their rented home, could overcrowd properties, and sometimes terminate tenancy agreements unreasonably or pressurise tenants into leaving. Bad tenants fail to pay their rent on time, may build up arrears, can leave without notice, some damage the property, and or prove to be bad neighbours.
MPs often receive more complaints and problems to sort out with the minority of properties that are rented than the majority that are owner occupied. Parliament provides a legal framework to try to regulate the conduct of b0th parties to a tenancy agreement. The state often stands behind the tenant with Housing benefit and other financial support to make it possible for them to afford the rents. The law tries to protect tenants from bad landlords who fail to maintain their properties or to offer the security of tenure the law requires.
Landlords are currently unhappy about tax changes affecting the eligibility of interest on rental properties they have bought with borrowed money. Asking landlords to help police our borders by requiring them to ensure a tenant is a legal resident in the UK to many makes sense. Some will worry with Andy Burnham about discrimination. Others will worry that it is another imposition on landlords that makes it less worthwhile at the margin to invest in rental property. What is your view?