Property owners using guardians must distance themselves from landlord status
London, UK (PRWEB UK) 23 September 2015
Landlords will also be expected to evict previously legal tenants, who lose the right to live in the UK. These requirements automatically impose the need for landlords to first check if a would-be tenant is a migrant, or a UK citizen.
Communities Secretary Greg Clark said the government would crack down on "rogue landlords who make money out of illegal immigration”. The new bill extends a successful pilot in the West Midlands, under which landlords have been required to make sure that potential tenants have the right to rent in the UK, or face a penalty of up to £3,000. Under the coming legislation, repeat landlord offenders will also face a prison sentence of up to five years.
IMPLICATIONS FOR OWNERS USING RESIDENT GUARDIAN COMPANIES TO PROTECT THEIR PROPERTIES
Under the coming legislation, resident property guardians will be almost certainly be regarded as tenants. As a result:
- owners who do not ensure that guardians are fully vetted will be vulnerable, especially if the owners, not the guardian company, might be considered landlords;
- guardian companies which do not operate high quality systems of corporate governance, including demonstrable compliance before and during the period of a licence to occupy, put themselves and their owner clients at risk;
- the courts will treat especially harshly owners or guardian companies which take advantage of a migrant’s vulnerability, e.g. by providing unfit accommodation;
- owners which use guardian companies but fail to distance themselves from landlord status - e.g. by receiving money, or by failing to ensure fit-for-purpose legal agreements between all parties - make themselves especially vulnerable should any occupant prove not to have a right to rent, or to have unfit accommodation, or to refuse to leave when given due notice.
According to the Home Office, the Immigration Bill is expected to be published in time to come into force within the current parliamentary session.
Preparing for this legislation whilst recognising the benefits of using resident guardians to protect void properties, Mitie’s Void Security and Personnel vetting business has partnered with London-based Newbould Guardians and leading property lawyers at law firm Pinsent Masons, to create legally reliable, clear regulation and governance for this sector. As Mitie’s Technology Services Managing Director, Darren Gamage explained:
“Working closely with Pinsent Masons and Newbould Guardians, we can now collectively offer building owners a way to efficiently manage risk through a robust vetting service. As part of Mitie’s security offering, our specialist vetting company Procuis carries out full, independent guardian and tenant vetting across the contract.”
John Morgan, Director at Newbould Guardians, added that, having been striving for higher standards for some years, his firm was delighted to have those efforts supported by partners of such stature:
“Rigorous governance and regulation is not easy, but will generate enormous growth in the sector and its benefits to property owners and communities. Mitie and Pinsent Masons bring valuable credibility to this process”.
ABOUT NEWBOULD GUARDIANS
Newbould Guardian clients include the London boroughs of Camden, Lambeth, Lewisham, Southwark, Tower Hamlets and the Royal Borough of Greenwich.
Newbould Guardians protects vacant commercial and residential properties for their owners by installing resident guardians who live on the premises on the basis of a Licence to Occupy. The resident guardians play an active role in protecting the property, liaising with Newbould managers and Health & Safety officers. The arrangement avoids both the traditional security costs such as guards, metal screens and CCTV, and the community costs associated with vacant buildings (vandalism, unsightliness, criminal activities).
One of the first resident property guardian companies to become established in the UK, Newbould Guardians has achieved sector-leading standards through its commitment to treating all parties with respect and in good faith.
The Newbould Guardian offices are at 311 Grays Inn Road, London WC1X 8PX T: 020 7713 7557
Newbould Guardians, John Morgan; 07789 147663; john(at)newbouldguardians(dot)co(dot)uk
Mitie, Darren Gamage; darren(dot)gamage(at)mitie(dot)com