AXE rules requiring landlords to act as immigration officials, Scottish lessors have told the UK Government.

Last week the High Court in London ruled the Tory Government’s “right to rent scheme”, which requires landlords to carry out immigration checks on prospective tenants, is “discriminatory” and breaches human rights laws.

Those failing to do so can face a maximum punishment of five years imprisonment.

The scheme was enacted in England three years ago and opponents have repeatedly urged against its implementation across the rest of the UK.

In their ruling last week, High Court judges said that, without further evaluation, a roll out in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would be illegal.

The Home Office, which has been granted permission to appeal, said it was “disappointed” and is considering its position.

Now the Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL) has called on the UK Government to abandon the legislation altogether.

Yesterday chief executive John Blackwood said: “SAL has been against this legislation since it was first proposed in 2015 and has actively campaigned against it in conjunction with the Scottish Government, landlord bodies and human rights groups across the UK.

“Now that the High Court has ruled the law illegal, the UK Government must immediately take steps to abolish this law which only encouraged unfair discrimination against non-UK nationals and British ethnic minorities.”

The “right to rent” was introduced as part of measures aimed at curbing illegal immigration, with those letting accommodation required to verify the legal status of would-be tenants by checking documentation including passports and visas.

However, the private rental sector – which makes up 15% of all Scotland’s housing – warned it was not properly set-up to carry out such checks. Meanwhile, organisations like the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants – which brought the court challenge – cautioned that it would see individuals judged by race and nationality, leading some landlords to discriminate for fear of failing the vetting procedure.

Mr Justice Spencer said “right to rent” had shown “little or no effect” on controlling immigration, and that evidence showed it was causing landlords to discriminate on the grounds of nationality and ethnicity.

The Residential Landlords Association welcomed that ruling, claiming the policy had seen landlords used as an “untrained and unwilling border police”.

However, the Home Office said its mystery shopping research detected “no evidence of systemic discrimination”, and the department added: “We are disappointed with the judgment and we have been granted permission to appeal, which reflects the important points of law that were considered in the case.

“In the meantime, we are giving careful consideration to the judge’s comments."

Commenting, Blackwood said: “Landlords act in a fair and balanced manner as they should, but this law sought to undermine that approach and must now be abolished for good.”