Plans to turn landlords into 'immigration police' in Wales should be resisted, say the Residential Landlords Association Cymru.

New figures show landlords are becoming more cautious about renting property to people who cannot easily prove their identity, hindering the 17 per cent of British citizens who don’t own a passport to access the housing they need, with some of the poorest in society who cannot afford a passport hit the hardest.

RLA vice chairman, Douglas Haig, said: “These figures show the damage that the right to rent scheme could cause in Wales for those who might have the right to rent property but cannot easily prove their identity.

“The added threat of criminal sanctions is clearly leading many landlords to become even more cautious about who they rent to.

“This is a dangerous and divisive policy that is causing discrimination. Wales needs to resist its implementation here.”

Under the Right to Rent scheme in England, landlords are legally required to confirm that prospective tenants have the right to reside and rent property in the UK.

Since December 2016, criminal sanctions apply to those found to know or have “reasonable cause to believe” that a tenant does not have the right to rent.

The policy has led to 44 per cent of landlords being less likely to rent homes to tenants without a British passport with 51 per cent less likely to rent a home to someone currently outside of the UK, according to an RLA survey.

And 22 per cent of landlords have said that they are less likely to rent property to nationals from the EU or the European Economic Area.

As the Right to Rent scheme has not yet come into force in Wales, the RLA is calling on all parties to resist its introduction, arguing that the policy creates discrimination and is being used to cover up failings in the UK border forces.

In April, the Welsh Assembly’s Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee expressed concerns about the potential impact of the Right to Rent policy on failed asylum seekers in Wales.