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Society questions Queen's speech tenant check proposal

9 May 2013

Questions as to how proposals in the Queen's speech for immigration checks on tenants will be implemented north of the border have been raised by the Law Society of Scotland.

A flagship bill in yesterday's speech, opening the new session of the Westminster Parliament, the Immigration Bill will include a provision requiring landlords to check their tenants’ immigration status. The Society warns that this could have a substantial impact on the private rented sector in Scotland – but also asked how it would be given effect.

Michael Clancy, Director of Law Reform at the Society, said: “The bill envisages a number of substantial changes to immigration law. It includes proposals to require private landlords to ensure their tenants are in the UK legally. This measure is likely to have a significant impact on private sector tenancies in Scotland. As housing is devolved to the Scottish Parliament, it will be interesting to see how this measure would be implemented in Scotland.”

It is also proposed that foreign nationals who commit serious crimes will be deported unless there are extraordinary circumstances. On this point Mr Clancy commented: “This is an issue which has attracted lots of attention recently. The proposals in the bill will need to be scrutinised closely to ensure their compatibility with human rights law.”

The Society however welcomed the promised draft Consumer Rights Bill. Frank Johnstone, convener of the Consumer Law Committee, said: “The consolidation of consumer law into one Act of Parliament should provide greater clarity for consumers and businesses.”

He added: “The Society welcomes the Government’s draft proposals to provide clearer consumer rights for the quality of digital content, such as e-books and software. Consumers should be entitled to have the same expectations, rights and remedies as would be applicable when purchasing tangible goods.”

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