Rules aimed at preventing illegal immigrants from renting properties are “discriminatory” and breach human rights laws, the High Court has ruled.
The “Right to Rent” scheme, which requires landlords to check the immigration status of tenants, was introduced in England in 2016.
Judges said it would be illegal to roll it out in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland without further evaluation.
The Home Office said it was “disappointed” by the ruling.
Judge Martin Spencer said the scheme had not been effective in its main aim of controlling immigration and even if it had, this was “significantly outweighed by the discriminatory effect”.
He added that the evidence “strongly showed” that the scheme was causing landlords to discriminate against potential tenants because of their nationality and ethnicity.
The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI), which was part of the group who brought the challenge, said there was “no place for racism in the UK housing market”.
Legal policy director Chai Patel added that the judgement “only reveals the tip of the iceberg” and called on Parliament to scrap the policy.
The Home Office said it had been granted permission to appeal and was giving careful consideration to the judge’s comments.