Tenant Fees Bill - Committee (2nd Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:45 pm on 20th November 2018.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of The Earl of Lytton The Earl of Lytton Crossbench 4:45 pm, 20th November 2018

My Lords, the noble Baroness has made a valid point. I recall some years ago having to check the identity of an applicant for a business tenancy, who produced a passport from a Commonwealth country which was in date but did not contain the crucial words in the out-of-date one, also presented, which described the bearer as having the right to remain in the United Kingdom. I have always felt very nervous about trying to sift through this, because of the penalties that can be visited on one professionally—in this case, it would have been on a client landlord—in connection with letting. Getting these things right and carrying out identity and immigration status checks cannot be left to the tea boy. They need to be done by somebody who knows what they are doing and can take responsibility.

This takes us back to the question of where the two-way street between landlord and prospective tenant should lie and whether it is right that the landlord provides a property that he has warranted as clean and tidy, fit for purpose, not unsafe and so on, and the tenant is responsible for the cost of verifying their bona fides, as the noble Baroness says in her amendment. It seems that that is fairly unarguable, particularly in London where there are people of so many different nationalities. A further issue that needs to be addressed, assuming that eventually this country will leave the European Union, is European citizens’ right to remain here. The noble Baroness raises a valuable point, and I look forward to hearing what the Minister says.