The government has made further retroactive changes to the Queen's speech by mitigating plans to force landlords to check that their tenants are living in the country legally.
Landlords could become part of immigration control
Earlier this month, the Queen's speech outlined a proposed immigration bill, which was intended to tackle immigration by – amongst other things – forcing landlords to vet the immigration status of migrant tenants. Landlords failing to comply would, it was said, face an as yet undetermined fine. However, the legislation has now been restricted to certain areas of the UK with high migrant populations.
Will the new rules just pust landlords at risk of discrimination charges?
The measures came under heavy criticism, with the bill accused of imposing unnecessary red tape upon buy to let landlords. Worries of discrimination were also raised; it was suggested by John Humphrys on the very morning of the speech that, for fear of penalties, landlords might be compelled to discriminate against non-English speaking or non-white tenants.
Senior Tories do not agree over the changes
Community secretary Eric Pickles is said to have argued strongly for a relaxation of the rules, pointing out that the majority of landlords are small businesses or individuals upon whom such a responsibility would be an "unreasonable burden".
The Department for Communities and Local Government are currently working to identify areas with high migrant populations to which the rules would likely apply.