Government announces multi-fold increase in fines for landlords renting to illegal immigrants
Fines for U.K. landlords are set to increase sharply if they fail to check the immigration status of their tenants as the government moves to clamp down on illegal migration.
Homeowners found to be hosting a lodger without lawful immigration status for the first time will face a penalty of £5,000, a sharp rise from the existing fine of £80, the government announced in August. If they are found to be housing many occupiers for the first time, they could face a charge of £10,000 for each person, a steep increase from the £1,000 maximum levy brought in when the civil penalties were introduced in 2014. These new rates will come into force in 2024.
For continuing breaches, property owners could be forced to pay £10,000 if they are hosting a lodger, and £20,000 per person for multiple occupiers, significantly higher than the current levels of £500 and £3,000.
The tougher fines have been put forward by the government’s immigration taskforce, which was launched at the start of this year. The taskforce assessed whether immigration checks on accommodation should be strengthened.
You could even be sent to prison for five 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 U.K., according to guidance posted on the government website.
This includes if you had any reason to believe that:
- they did not have leave or permission to enter or stay in the U.K.
- 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 U.K.
- you cannot show that you checked their right to rent
A total of 88,682 migrants crossed the English Channel using small boats from the start of 2018 until the end of the first quarter of 2023, according to government data published with the Illegal Migration Act. Net migration in the U.K. climbed 24 percent in 2022 to a record 606,000, according to figures released in May.
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