Residential landlords in the sight line over illegal renters

The Government’s crackdown on illegal migration has seen a tripling of penalties for landlords who fail to enforce ‘right-to-rent’ rules. 

The move will see landlords facing up to five years in prison and fines as high as £20,000.

The higher penalties will kick in at the start of 2024.  For a first breach, fines have increased to £5,000 per lodger and £10,000 per occupier, with repeat breaches subject to penalties of up to £10,000 per lodger and £20,000 per occupier.

All landlords in England are required by law to conduct a right to rent check before letting their property. The requirement is set out in sections 20 to 24 of the Immigration Act 2014 and applies to residential tenancy agreements where “one or more adults have the right to occupy the premises”, meaning those without lawful immigration status are excluded.

If a landlord is found to have knowingly let their property to an illegal tenant, they may be committing a criminal offence.  Carrying out adequate right to rent checks gives rise to  a ‘statutory excuse’ which guards against both civil and criminal liability, so it’s important to retain evidence of steps taken.

Every residential landlord has a responsibility to ensure that all legal requirements are met: they cannot avoid those responsibilities by simply assuming an agent is doing the necessary checks.  They need to see evidence of the checks having been completed and know that records are kept in case there is any subsequent challenge.

To discuss this, or any other related matter with Lucy directly, please call us, start a live chat or email us at

*This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.


Lucy Penfold

Senior Solicitor, Dispute Resolution

Lucy is a Senior Solicitor in the Dispute Resolution team here at Hart Brown and specialises in property litigation and contentious trusts and probate. Lucy...

Lucy-Senior Solicitor in the Dispute Resolution

Senior Solicitor, Dispute Resolution

Lucy Penfold

Lucy is a Senior Solicitor in the Dispute Resolution team here at Hart Brown and specialises in property litigation and contentious trusts and probate.

Lucy completed her law degree at Kingston University before completing the Legal Practice Course at the College of Law in Guildford (now the University of Law). Lucy qualified in 2012 and brings with her general commercial litigation experience from Central London and Surrey law firms.

A member of the Property Litigation Association, Lucy deals with all areas of property litigation including varied landlord and tenant disputes, evictions, neighbour disputes, boundary disputes, commercial property disputes, property disrepairs and dilapidations.

Lucy also deals with various contentious probate matters, including interpreting the terms of wills, brining or defending claims to contest wills or trusts, and executor removal disputes.

Lucy’s general commercial litigation experience allows her to have a pragmatic and commercial approach to any legal issue faced.

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