Private landlords could be fined £3,000 for failing to check the immigration status of their tenants.
The government has launched a consultation on plans to crack down on illegal immigrants living in rented accommodation.
There could be proportionate penalties for those who make a single honest mistake, and much heavier penalties, up to £3,000 per tenant, for rogue landlords who repeatedly and deliberately break the law.
The changes proposed under this consultation will also tackle unlawful structures, known as ‘beds in sheds’, and overcrowded houses that can bring social problems and costs to local communities.
The laws will be modelled closely on existing controls for the employment of illegal workers, which are well established and have operated successfully for the last five years.
Immigration Minister Mark Harper said: “There is no doubt that immigrants have helped make Britain a richer and stronger society, but we must be wary of uncontrolled immigration, which can cause a range of problems for the UK.
“This is exactly why we want to introduce penalties for landlords who let property to those with no right to be here. We believe these proposals will hit rogue landlords where it hurts – their pockets.
“At the same time, we do not want to disadvantage legitimate landlords and have devised a system which is effective, while light-touch.
“This will make it tough for illegal immigrants to rent property, but just as importantly, will allow the government to take tough action against rogue landlords who exploit vulnerable migrants.”