In the nine months since new Right To Rent immigration checks have been implemented across the West Midlands only seven landlords have been penalised.
According to documents released to The Economist under the Freedom of Information Act the seven landlords faced fines averaging £800 each.
One of two other investigations into the pilot project – reported by The Guardian newspaper – claims that only half of those tenants looking for rental accommodation in the pilot area since the scheme’s introduction have been asked by a landlord and agent if they had permission to stay in the UK.
The other investigation found the pilot may have encouraged landlords to discriminate against prospective tenants from overseas. The Guardian reports a mystery shopping exercise found non-Britons were blocked from renting properties on 11 out of 27 occasions.
The Guardian says these investigations suggest the pilot has failed.
In the pilot, landlords or their letting agent representatives have faced fines of up to £3,000 if they failed to conduct checks or knowingly allowed illegal immigrants to rent or continue renting privately let accommodation.
Last week the government – which admits it has yet to conclude its own assessment of the Right To Rent pilot – controversially increased the potential penalties on agents and landlords to five years imprisonment if they were serial offenders.