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Top Reasons Landlords are Fined

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Landlords and fines are in the news at the moment because, on 13 February 2024, the government massively increased the fine for renting a property to a tenant who does not have the ‘right to rent.’

In this article, our Landlord and Tenant Solicitors look at the top reasons landlords are at risk of being fined.

UK Online and London Landlord and Tenant Solicitors 

For advice on landlord and tenant law call the expert London Landlord and Tenant Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

Fines and right to rent checks

If you are a landlord and you don’t carry out a right-to-rent check you risk being fined. The fines went up on 13 February  2024 to:

First time fine   Amount of second or subsequent fine
Lodgers in a private household £5,000 £10,000
Tenants in rented accommodation £10,000 £20,000


These fines are per lodger or tenant and not per property. If you rent to 4 adults a first-time fine could amount to £20,000.

The fine increases will be a wake-up call for some landlords to check that they are carrying out right-to-rent checks following the latest guidance and also keeping a record of the check.

Landlord and Tenant Solicitors reiterate that the checks must be carried out against all adult prospective tenants. Assumptions must never be made that a tenant has the right to rent as they are locals or married to the lead tenant or that as the tenant is in employment they must have passed a right-to-work check. Only through properly conducting a right-to-rent check will a landlord get protection from a fine for renting to a person who turns out not to have the right to rent.

A degree of organisation is also necessary where a tenant has limited leave to remain. That’s because the right to rent check will need to be repeated to provide continued protection from Civil Penalty Notices and fines.

As an added incentive to comply with the law on the right to rent, a landlord can be sent to prison for 5 years if they rent property to someone whom they knew or had ‘reasonable cause to believe’ did not have the right to rent because the tenant didn’t have leave to remain in the UK, the tenant’s leave had expired or the tenant used false papers that gave the landlord reasonable cause to believe that their prospective tenant didn’t have the right to rent.

Imprisonment is only used in highly exceptional circumstances but with an increased minimum fine of £5,000, the financial penalty alone is a deterrent to most landlords.

A landlord can object to the imposition of a fine if they made a report to the Home Office after a repeat check meant they realised their tenant no longer had the right to rent. This ground of objection emphasises the need to diary up repeat checks and to keep records of any checks or Home Office communications.

Fines and houses in multiple occupation

A landlord who doesn’t get a licence for a house in multiple occupation could face an unlimited fine.

The government defines a large HMO requiring a licence as a property rented out by at least 5 people who are not from 1 ‘household’ and where the people in the property share facilities like the bathroom and kitchen. Landlord and Tenant Solicitors warn that local authorities draw up their own rules on what amounts to a HMO. If you are not renting your property to a family it is best to get legal advice or to check the local regulations to reduce the risk of a fine.

In addition to a HMO licensing fine, tenants may be able to apply for a Rent Repayment Order allowing them to claim back up to 12 months of the rent paid by them. With 5 plus tenants, this could amount to a considerable sum.

At OTS Solicitors we can help with all your HMO licensing legal queries. Call us on 0203 959 9123.

Fines for illegal eviction

Landlords cannot illegally evict a tenant and they could face an unlimited fine and imprisonment for doing so. Probably of greater concern to landlords is the very real risk that their tenant will start court proceedings for compensation and end up with a compensation award as well as potentially the right to stay in the property.

Fines for health and safety breaches

Potential fines for health and safety type breaches are a major worry if you are an accidental landlord unsure of your responsibilities and the legislation or you are a professional landlord trying to manage a property portfolio without a letting agent or the organisational support you need.

Landlord and Tenant Solicitors say that the fines for health and safety breaches can be eye-watering because of the potentially devastating harm that a tenant and their family could experience if something goes wrong at their rental property. To give a flavour of potential fines:

Breach Maximum fine
Electrical Safety breaches up to £30,000
Gas Safety breaches up to £6,000 fine and up to 6 months imprisonment
Breaching Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations up to £5,000
Breaching Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard Regulations up to £5,000


How can OTS Solicitors help with your landlord legal questions?

At OTS Solicitors our Landlord and Tenant Solicitors believe in providing comprehensive advice on all your landlord questions. We understand the importance of clear-cut advice delivered quickly and efficiently. If you need landlord legal advice our team can assist with everything from tenancy agreement advice, deposit disputes, possession proceedings and evictions.

UK Online and London Based Landlord and Tenant Solicitors 

For advice on landlord and tenant law or a consultation call the expert London landlord and tenant lawyers on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

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