​Right to Rent is a flop – according to official data collected from a pilot scheme in the West Midlands by the government.

The figures suggest few landlords have broken the rules but are avoiding Right to Rent by turning away renters who are not British.

Under the scheme, landlords and letting agents must check a tenant has the right to live in the UK before agreeing to rent them a home.

The pilot scheme has run across the West Midlands since December 2014.

According to freedom of information figures issued by the Home Office and published in The Economist magazine, seven landlords have suffered penalties under right to rent rules in incidents involving 11 tenants.

The maximum fine under the pilot scheme is £3,000, but the average penalty paid by landlords breaking the rules was £782.

Total fines imposed add up to £5,480, of which £3,760 remains unpaid.

The Home Office also explained two more landlords may face civil penalties for breaking the rules.

Media reports also quote an anonymous charity mystery shopper exercise that found prospective non-British tenants were locked out of the buy to let market 11 out of 27 times they made inquiries to rent a home in the West Midlands.

The spokesman also added the data was still under evaluation even though the Department of Communities and Local Government has announced Right to rent will be rolled out across England later this year.

The new Immigration Bill will make failing to carry out the checks a criminal offence and increase penalties for landlords and letting agents to include a possible jail sentence for repeat offenders.

A Home Office spokesman said:

“The evaluation of Right to Rent is currently being completed, but there are no indications so far to suggest landlord checks are being carried out unfairly.

“Right to Rent is not designed to be a money-making scheme or to catch out honest landlords. Instead, we want to help landlords carry out the proper checks so that those who do not have the right to be in the UK cannot access rented accommodation.

“We do not recognise figures suggesting only half of landlords checked potential tenants’ right to rent.”

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