Massive increase in fine for failure to conduct right to rent checks

On August 7, 2023, the Home Secretary made a significant announcement regarding a threefold increase in fines for landlords and illegal workers seeking to rent properties. This announcement also includes an increase in fines for right-to-work checks on illegal workers.

Previously, fines stood at £80 per lodger and £1,000 per occupier for the first breach, with £500 per lodger and £3,000 per occupier for repeat breaches. The new fines  will now increase to £5,000 per lodger and £10,000 per occupier for the first breach and £10,000 per lodger and £20,000 per occupier for further breaches.

Minister for Immigration, Robert Jenrick, emphasized the importance of making it more challenging for illegal migrants to work and operate in the UK as a vital measure to discourage dangerous small boat crossings arguing that unscrupulous landlords and employers who facilitate illegal working and renting are enabling the illicit activities of human smugglers.

Right-to-rent checks must be carried out on any adult (those over 18) intending to become a tenant in the property, irrespective of whether a tenancy agreement exists, whether the individual is named on the tenancy agreement, or whether the tenancy agreement is in writing. It is illegal to discriminate and conduct checks only on individuals believed not to be British. Every adult using the property as their primary or only residence should undergo a right-to-rent check, regardless of their citizenship status.

However, it is important to note that right-to-rent checks are not required in certain types of accommodation, including:

  • Social housing (with the exception of subletting by a tenant to another tenant)
  • Care homes, hospices, or hospitals
  • Hostels or refuges
  • Mobile homes
  • Student accommodation
  • Accommodation provided by a local authority
  • Accommodation provided by an employer as part of an employment agreement (tied accommodation)
  • Accommodation with a lease of 7 years or longer


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