Penalties for illegal renting

You could be sent to prison for 5 years or get a fine for renting property in England to someone who you knew or had ‘reasonable cause to believe’ did not have the right to rent in the UK.

This includes if you had any reason to believe that:

  • they did not have leave (permission) to enter or stay in the UK
  • their leave had expired
  • their papers were incorrect or false

You can also be fined if both of the following apply:

  • you rent your property to someone who is not allowed to stay in the UK
  • you cannot show that you checked their right to rent

If you’re asked to prove you’ve done a check

You might get a ‘referral notice’ to let you know your case is being investigated and that you could get a fine (‘civil penalty’).

You’ll be sent an ‘information request’ to allow you to provide evidence that you’ve carried out the check.

After your case has been considered, you’ll be sent either:

  • a ‘no action’ notice
  • a civil penalty notice with the amount you have to pay

Fines (civil penalties)

The amount you have to pay will depend on the type of accommodation and if you’ve received a civil penalty before.

Amount for a first time penalty Amounts for further penalties
Lodgers in a private household £5,000 £10,000
Tenants in rented accommodation £10,000 £20,000

Details of how to pay are on your civil penalty notice.

You can save 30% if you pay your civil penalty within 21 days.

Objecting to a civil penalty

You can object to a penalty within 28 days of the ‘given’ date on the civil penalty notice.

You can object if:

  • you are not liable to pay the penalty, for example you’re not the landlord
  • you’ve made a correct check on the tenant or made a report to the Home Office after a repeat check (where a tenant no longer has a right to rent)
  • the penalty was not calculated correctly

You’ll be sent an ‘objection outcome notice’ within 28 days that will say if you have to pay the penalty or not.


You must appeal against the penalty within 28 days of the date on the objection outcome notice.

You can appeal for the same reasons that you made your objection.

You might have to pay the Home Office’s legal costs if you lose your appeal.

Send form N161 to your nearest county court with the correct fee to appeal.

You must also send a copy of your completed form to the Government Legal Department.

Government Legal Department
1 Kemble Street