Tenant Fees Bill - Committee (2nd Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:00 pm on 20th November 2018.

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Photo of Baroness Gardner of Parkes Baroness Gardner of Parkes Conservative 5:00 pm, 20th November 2018

My Lords, I was very interested in the comments that were made and I will certainly take them on board. I heard people talking about how easy it is to get the right of abode and that is exactly what I have had here for 40 years. Every time my passport comes up for renewal, I have to send in the original documents, which after 40 years are beginning to disintegrate. Why can the Home Office not keep a record of these things? I have only one marriage certificate; it is turning into a bit of old rubbish now because it is getting so worn out although I have always valued it.

I am sure noble Lords know about the Member of your Lordships’ House who made the mistake of employing someone who had no right to be in this country. It is not a light remark to say, “They will just produce that”. You have to reproduce things every time you get a new passport and, as I said, the original documents are insisted on. It is a pretty major thing and I will face it again next year.

The position in this House is that you can be here provided that you are deemed domiciled; you have to prove that you are paying full taxes, which is one of the big factors. But a lot of people may not be aware that you have to have any proof of who you are at all in anything. If the time comes when people want to rent a place and are asked, “How can you prove that you are entitled to be here?”, they will not have the documentation, whereas they would if that requirement were set out in the guidance.

The Minister said that this issue is included in immigration law, but it needs to be mentioned in some way in this legislation, which affects people’s lives on an everyday basis. When they want somewhere to live and find a place they like, they do not suddenly want to lose it because it takes so long to get the correct papers. That should be in a guidance document prior to wishing to rent something. It should not be part of the rental process.

Doing this yourself, as has been suggested, presumably means meeting the costs yourself as well. This whole thing seems to be a little muddled. I do not accept the view of the noble Lord, Lord Best, that we should not burden ordinary people with these things—perhaps I am wrong in asserting that—when they are burdened by them every day in their own living standards. But I appreciate the Minister has given a good answer and I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 32A withdrawn.

Schedule 1 agreed.

Schedule 2: Treatment of holding deposit