The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) has criticised the government’s right to rent scheme, claiming it could result in discrimination against those who appear ‘foreign’.

The right to rent scheme, introduced in the West Midlands on the 1st December 2014, is set to be rolled out across the rest of England in February 2016.

However, the new legislation has come under fire from groups such as the JCWI, who claim it will have a number of negative effects on both tenants and landlords.

A report published by the JCWI concluded there was evidence to suggest some landlords are prepared to discriminate against people with complicated immigration status and those who cannot provide documentation immediately.

The research, which assessed the success of the scheme across the West Midlands so far, discovered that many landlords found the legislation confusing and as a result failed to carry out right to rent checks effectively.

The evaluation found that 42% of landlords would be unlikely to rent to those without British passports while 25% would be less likely to rent to someone with a foreign name or accent.

Saira Grant, Legal & Policy Director says: “The findings from our independent evaluation show that the Right to Rent policy encourages discrimination and has created a hostile environment for all migrants and ethnic minorities in the UK seeking to access the private rental market.

“Those who appear foreign or have foreign accents are finding it increasingly difficult to access tenancies.

“The scheme must therefore be properly evaluated and scrutinised by parliament before any decision is taken on a national rollout.”

The right to rent scheme applies to all prospective adult occupiers, rather than just those that landlords suspect may not have the right to rent in the UK.

As a result, providing they make checks on all prospective adult occupiers, landlords, agents and householders will not be acting in a discriminatory way.