A landlord in the West Midlands has been fined around £2,000 after apparent failures in checking a tenant’s immigration status.
ARLA has said it is trying to establish more detail on the case, which is thought to be the first.
The landlord concerned is said to be appealing.
Under the Immigration Act, landlords can legally hand the responsibility for checking tenants’ right to live in the UK to agents, as long as this has been done in writing.
Right to Rent has been trialled in the West Midlands since December 1, and is expected to be rolled out nationwide.
While the roll-out could be from September, there is no official detail on the timing or whether and how it will be phased.
One landlord in the West Midlands, Phil Stewardson, who owns 135 properties, said that local landlords were being used as “free labour” for border control.
He said: “If trained immigration officers can’t detect these people at ports and airports with their resources, how are we supposed to?”
A lawyer, Anne-Marie Balfour of Charles Russell Speechlys, warned that there is a fine line to be trod between racial discrimination and Right to Rent laws.
While Right to Rent would levy civil penalties of up to £3,000, racial discrimination is a criminal offence.