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Penalties for Illegally Renting

UK landlords and sub-letters can get a fine, or a civil penalty, for renting out a property illegally. There are severe penalties for renting a property to anyone who does not have the right to rent.

As a landlord, you can avoid most penalties for illegal renting by carrying out the tenant right to rent check.

What happens if you become under suspicion of renting a house or room illegally? As a rule, you would get a ‘referral notice’. The letter informs you that your case is under investigation.

The referral notice also tells you that you could get a civil penalty if found guilty of illegal renting. You will then receive an ‘information request’. This document allows you to provide written evidence that you did carry out the tenant check.

Your case gets considered based on the evidence you provide and then you will either receive:

  1. A ‘no action‘ notice.
  2. A civil penalty notice showing the amount you must pay.

Civil Penalties for Illegal Renting

Landlord penalties for illegal renting vary according to two specific factors. The amount depends on the type of accommodation and whether you received a civil penalty before.

Type of Accommodation Landlord Penalty (first time) Landlord Penalties (repeat offences)
Lodgers in a private household £80 £500
Tenants in rented accommodation £1,000 £3,000

Note: There are severe penalties for renting a property in England to someone who you knew (or had ‘reasonable cause to believe’) did not have the right to rent in United Kingdom. It can result in a five (5) year prison sentence or an unlimited fine. You will find relevant details for payment on the civil penalty notice. Paying it within 21 days means you can save 30% of the total fine.

How to Object to a Civil Penalty

You must follow some basic steps if you want to object to a civil penalty. You must lodge your objection within 28 days of the ‘given‘ date on your civil penalty notice. You may object if you:

  1. Feel you are not liable to for the penalty (e.g. if you are not the landlord).
  2. Made the correct right to rent tenant check.
  3. Reported it to the Home Office after conducting a repeat check (e.g. where a tenant no longer has a right to rent)
  4. Think the penalty has a calculation error.

You will receive an ‘objection outcome notice‘ within 28 days informing you whether you must pay the penalty or not.

Appealing against a Civil Penalty

You must make any appeal against the penalty within 28 days of the date on the objection outcome notice. Appealing a civil penalty should be for the same reasons you stated on your objection.

Use the ‘appellant’s notice form N161‘ for your appeal. Send the completed form N161 to your nearest county court along with the current court fees. Remember to send a copy of your completed form to the Government Legal Department as well.

Government Legal Department
1 Kemble Street

Note: Losing your appeal means you may be liable for paying the Home Office legal costs.

Penalties for Illegal Renting in the United Kingdom