Some 42% of private landlords say the Right to Rent scheme has made them less likely to let to those without a UK passport.
About 17% of UK citizens do not have a passport, meaning they could inadvertently lose out under the immigration checks, according to the research carried out by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA).
Many of the landlords surveyed said they were less likely to rent to people who cannot produce a British passport because they feared criminal sanctions if they were tricked by false documents.
With landlords concerned about the potential of criminal sanctions if they make a mistake, the RLA is now calling for a halt to the scheme pending a full review of its impact on tenants.
“Faced with the fear of criminal sanctions many landlords are understandably playing it safe,” said RLA policy director, David Smith.
He added: “Given the scale of the housing crisis, any policy that makes it harder for those legally able to access the homes they need is a travesty.
“It is absurd to conduct a review of the scheme without looking at all the consequences. That is why it is vital that the Home Office suspends the scheme pending a full and detailed assessment of its impact on tenants and prospective tenants.”