The phone rings late one night last week. It’s Erica, sobbing hysterically down the phone in broken English that her new husband, Harry, had been taken into custody and she didn’t know what to do.
Harry and Erica married last month; she’s Polish in her late thirties and he’s Indian in his mid twenties. She swears to me it’s mad, impulsive, passionate love and he just smiles and nods in agreement. They’re hard working, quiet, pleasant and an asset to the house and, quite frankly, anyone who can put up with binge drinking Tom and not moan to me about it, becomes a star tenant.
The story goes that Harry and two friends had been walking down the street that night. On spotting a police car, they pulled their hoodies over their heads and dashed into Ladbrokes. The police watched as the men wandered around the shop looking lost and so they drove their police car down the road. Sensing the all clear, the men left Ladbrokes, carried on walking, spotted the car again and slipped into a newsagent. At this point, the police felt they just had to stop them for a friendly chat and find out why their acting skills as insomniac gamblers nipping out for a newspaper had failed them so badly.
All three were wanted on immigration charges and one had eluded the authorities for over 13 years. Harry was released early as his papers were with his solicitor following the marriage and, as the story could be corroborated by his panic stricken wife, they saw no sense in providing a B&B service at the Custody Centre……the other two were kept overnight.
The following day, the very same copper who had arrested them happened to be booked to clean the carpets in all the houses (his second job and he’s very good at it). Poor Harry came out of his room, found his arresting policeman on the stairs and ran back into his room, terrified. I was at the house at the time and calmed him down long enough to make him understand that policemen work hard too – and can have other jobs.
“If this had happened after February 2016, would you be demanding a £3,000 fine from me for giving a tenancy to an illegal immigrant?” I asked Simon, the policeman/carpet cleaner. “Eh? Why?” he replied.
“Because from February 2016 landlords will have to check the immigration status of tenants to see if they have a right to rent.” I said
“Don’t know about that. All I know is we have to document and photograph them and tell them to make their own way to the Immigration Centre in Croydon, before showing them the door. The Centre can process them IF they turn up.”
So, here’s my question: if the police aren’t going to fine me under this new Immigration Bill/ Right To Rent, do they report us landlords to the Home Office and we await a fine (presuming the landlord is authority-fearing like me and has given legitimate contact details) or do they pop a Post It note in the illegal’s top pocket with the landlord’s name to be found when they reach the Immigration Centre?
Lining Them Up
In the meantime, I’ve found out what dominatrix Linda gets up to in her spare time when she’s not torturing consenting men. She’s been corresponding with prisoners in the US and whilst she’s been out of town, her post has been piling up. When she gets home she can look forward to letters from gentlemen residing at places such as:
Oregon Department of Corrections
Fort Federation Correction Institute
Airway Heights Correction Centre
Gatesville, Texas Correct Centre
Let’s hope they don’t all turn up on the doorstep after February 2016 otherwise I’m going to be facing a crippling penalty fine!