A legal challenge to Right to Rent is due to be heard in the High Court this week.
The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants is seeking a judicial review. It says that the scheme, which forces landlords or their agents to check the migration status of all prospective tenants, encourages “systemic discrimination” against people of ethnic minority and those without British passports.
Breaches of Right to Rent can result in both civil and criminal penalties for landlords and agents.
Speaking to Sky News, Chai Patel, legal policy director for the JCWI, said it would argue that the policy breaches discrimination laws.
Research by the Residential Landlords Association and the JCWI has shown that almost half of landlords are now less likely to let to tenants who do not have a UK passport.
Leona Leung, a letting agent and landlord in Birmingham, told Sky News:”We are not border agents, we are not in charge of immigration.”
Immigration minister Caroline Noakes has also been warned by the RLA that many landlords and agents “are playing it safe by refusing to rent to anyone without a passport, even if they are UK nationals”.
According to census data, 17% of the population in England and Wales do not have passports.
According to the Home Office, some 405 fines have so far been handed out for breaches of Right to Rent, totalling £265,000.