The British government announced new measures on Monday that force landlords to evict tenants who are living in the country illegally or else face jail time.
The government, under the direction of Prime Minister David Cameron, announced the measures following the implementation of funding for security guards, fencing, and surveillance cameras at the Eurotunnel terminal in Calais, where 5,000 migrants have made attempts to enter the tunnel and ultimately the U.K., according to BBC. The stipulation will be a part of the upcoming Immigration Bill.
The new measures would make it so that landlords who fail to remove illegal immigrants, or who do not check the status of potential tenants before renting property, would face up to five years behind bars.
“We are determined to crack down on rogue landlords who make money out of illegal immigration -- exploiting vulnerable people and undermining our immigration system,” Communities Secretary Greg Clark said, according to Metro.co.uk.
Under the new policies, landlords would also be able to end illegal immigrants' tenancies without going through the court system.
“In [the] future, landlords will be required to ensure that the people they rent their properties to are legally entitled to be in the country," Clark added. "We will also require them to meet their basic responsibilities as landlords, cracking down on those who rent out dangerous, dirty and overcrowded properties."
Reaction from landlords throughout the country was mixed, according to National Landlord Association head Chris Norris. Norris said that the measure was “controversial because it puts a duty on the landlord to perform functions that are normally done by border control and the Home Office."
"But we have called for end of tenancy when there is no right, without having to go through costly court process — that is positive," he added.
The new policy also leaves some concerned that it could breed discrimination, according to the Washington Post. Human rights activists fear landlords could end up choosing U.K. applicants over foreigners out of fear of facing jail time.
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