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On The Table Read Magazine, “the best entertainment magazine in the UK“, it turns out you’ve been playing Monopoly wrong, so board game expert have revealed the top 10 most frequently made-up rules!

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For generations, Monopoly has been a battleground for families and friendships alike. Those little houses and hotels have sparked countless arguments, accusations of cheating, and maybe even a tear or two. But what if we told you, dear reader, that you’ve likely been playing Monopoly wrong your entire life?

Board game experts have shed light on the top 10 most frequently made-up rules that have infiltrated Monopoly households across the globe. Prepare to have your Monopoly world rocked (and maybe even rectified for your next game night!). To help us out, Amber Crook, Editorial Chief and board games expert at, has sent over the top ten most commonly made-up Monopoly rules.

Top Ten Made Up Monopoly Rules

1. You receive M400 for landing on GO 

A common house rule is that if you land directly on GO, you receive M400 from the bank rather than the standard M200. While this may have helped you out of sticky situations in previous games, it is not actually a rule and only serves to make the game longer than it needs to be. If you land on GO, you should only receive M200 from the bank, in the same way as if you were passing GO. Additionally, if you land on a property just before GO, you are not allowed to prematurely collect this M200 from the bank, even if you are short on cash.

-Amber Crook

Official Rules

  • You only collect money when you pass GO if you are moving forward. Landing on GO itself does not trigger a £200 payout.
  • If you are sent back several spaces due to a card draw (e.g., “Go Back Three Spaces”), you do not collect £200 when you pass GO.
  • The only exception to the “forward movement” rule is the “Pay a £10 fine or take a Chance” card (present in some British Monopoly editions). If you draw this card and choose to pay the fine, you would then collect £200 upon passing GO, even though your overall movement wasn’t forward.

2. You receive money if you land on Free Parking 

Many think that any in-game fines and taxes are paid to the Free Parking square, for players to collect if they roll and land on it. While it may add an exciting element of luck to the game, this is unfortunately not an official rule.  Instead, any in-game fines should be paid directly to the bank, and the Free Parking square should serve only as a ‘resting place’ if a player lands on it, according to the rule book.

-Amber Crook

Official Rules

  • No Money Collected: There’s no cash reward for simply landing on Free Parking.
  • Resting Spot: It’s a chance to catch your breath and strategize your next move.
  • Potential for Incoming Funds: However, Free Parking does play a role in accumulating money indirectly. This is because any fines or fees collected from players throughout the game (such as landing on Income Tax or Chance cards instructing players to pay a set amount) are placed in a central pool on the Free Parking space.
  • Jackpot Opportunity: Later in the game, if a player lands on a space that instructs them to “Pay the Bank a sum equal to [amount],” they would pay the total amount collected throughout the game that’s been accumulating on Free Parking. This can become a significant sum of money, especially in a long game!

3. You don’t have to buy or auction a property if you land on it 

Many players think that if you land on an unowned property and don’t wish to buy it, you can skip past it, but this simply isn’t the case. When a player lands on an unowned property or utility, they have first dibs on purchasing it for the listed price. If they choose not to buy it, the property is immediately put up for auction by the banker. Every player can then bid on it, including the player who originally passed on buying it. Any player can set the starting bid and the property is then purchased by the subsequent highest bidder.

-Amber Crook

Official Rules

  • Immediate Auction: The property is immediately auctioned off to the highest bidder among all the players.
  • Anyone Can Bid: This includes you, the player who originally landed on the property and declined to buy it at the printed price. There’s no penalty for changing your mind and joining the bidding!
  • Starting the Bidding: Any player can initiate the bidding by offering an amount (it can be any amount greater than £0). The bidding then proceeds around the table in a clockwise direction, with each player having the opportunity to raise the previous bid or “pass” if they’re not interested.
  • Winning the Bid: The player who makes the highest bid that isn’t subsequently outbid becomes the new owner of the property and receives the Title Deed card. They must immediately pay the winning bid amount to the Bank.

4. You can’t collect rent while in jail 

It’s a common misconception that when a player is in jail, they can’t collect rent if another player lands on a property they own. Again, not true! You can collect rent, or buy and sell properties or houses, as you normally would while in jail. Regardless of whether you are in jail or not, if you fail to notice a player has landed on your property, you cannot then ask them for rent once the next player has already rolled the dice.

-Amber Crook

Official Rules

  • Yes, You Can Collect Rent: Just because you’re in jail doesn’t mean your business dealings have to come to a halt. If another player lands on one of your owned properties, you are still entitled to collect the rent according to the amount displayed on the Title Deed card.
  • The Responsibility Lies With You: It’s your responsibility to inform other players about the rent they owe when they land on your property while you’re in jail. Don’t be shy – speak up and claim what’s rightfully yours!
  • Missed Opportunity? No Take Backs: However, if you forget to mention the rent and the next player rolls the dice without settling the debt, you’ve missed your chance to collect. There are no “oops, I forgot” moments when it comes to rent collection in Monopoly!

5. You get out of jail for free after three rolls 

If you are in jail, you can roll a double during your turn to get out. Many players think that after three rolls you can automatically move your player piece out of jail for free, but this isn’t true. The rules actually state that on your third roll, you must still pay a M50 fine to the bank, before moving your piece out of jail according to the number shown on the die.

-Amber Crook

Official Rules

  • Three Turns Only: You only have three turns after being sent to jail to attempt to roll doubles or decide to pay the fine.
  • Forced Out After Three Turns: If you neither roll doubles nor pay the fine within your three turns, you are automatically forced to pay the £50 fine to the Bank on your fourth turn in jail. This is mandatory, and you cannot choose to roll the dice again on that turn. Once you pay the fine, you are released from jail and can take a normal turn.

6. You can unmortgage a property for the same price 

If players are short on cash, they can mortgage any of their unimproved properties for the value on the back of the card, and this money will be paid to them by the bank. If a player wishes to ‘unmortgage’ this property, they need to pay the bank this amount plus an additional 10% interest based on the mortgage value. For example, if a player mortgages a property for M100, they would need to pay the bank M110 to unmortgage it.

-Amber Crook

Official Rules

At any time during the game, you can choose to unmortgage any of your properties that are currently mortgaged. This allows you to reclaim full ownership of the property and removes the “Mortgaged” designation from the Title Deed card.

Here’s what you need to do to unmortgage a property:

  • Pay the Bank: To unmortgage a property, you need to pay the Bank the full mortgage value of the property plus an additional 10% interest on that amount. The mortgage value is clearly displayed on the back of the Title Deed card.


Let’s say you want to unmortgage Mayfair, which has a mortgage value of £400. To get it back, you would need to pay the Bank:

  • Mortgage Value: £400
  • 10% Interest: £400 x 10% = £40

Total Payment to Unmortgage: £400 (mortgage value) + £40 (interest) = £440

  • Pay in Full: The entire amount (£440 in our example) must be paid to the Bank in a single transaction. You cannot pay it off in installments.

7. You must wait until your turn to buy houses 

You don’t have to wait until your turn to build houses on your properties. Once you have all the properties in a colour group, you can build houses and hotels at any point during your turn or between other players’ turns. You can’t, however, build houses on one of your properties if a player has already landed on it.

-Amber Crook

8. You can build houses on just one property 

Once a player owns all the properties in a colour group, they can begin building houses on them. The rulebook states that players must build houses evenly across each of their properties in a colour group. For example, you are not allowed to build a hotel on one green property, and only one house on the other two green properties.  If you have mortgaged one of your properties, you also cannot build houses on the other properties in that colour group, until you have unmortgaged said property.” 

-Amber Crook

Official Rules

  • Eligibility: You can only build houses on properties that you own outright (not mortgaged) and where you own the entire color group. This means possessing all the properties that share the same color on the board (e.g., owning both Mayfair and Bond Street to be eligible to build houses on either).
  • Building Evenly: Once you own a complete color group, you can start constructing houses. However, you can’t favor specific properties within the group. The rule of even development dictates that you must build one house on each property within the color group before you can build a second house on any property in that group.

9. Properties go back to the bank if you go bankrupt 

If a player lands on one of your properties and they cannot afford to pay you rent, despite selling their houses and mortgaging their properties, they go bankrupt and are out of the game. If you are the one to bankrupt them, you acquire all their mortgaged properties, rather than these properties going back to the bank. When you acquire another player’s mortgaged properties, you must immediately either pay the bank 10% interest on each mortgaged property or pay to unmortgage each property. A player’s properties only go back to the bank if they become bankrupt due to not being able to pay a tax or fine. In this case, the banker can then auction off these seized properties to the other remaining players.”

-Amber Crook

Official Rules

  • Debt to the Bank: If you owe more money than you can pay (including selling any unmortgaged properties you own) to the Bank due to rent, fees, or fines, you are declared bankrupt. In this case, you must hand over:
    • All Property Deeds: You relinquish ownership of all your properties, both mortgaged and unmortgaged, to the Bank. These properties are then placed face up on the board, ready to be auctioned off to the highest bidder.
    • Any Cash Remaining: Any remaining cash you have on hand must also be surrendered to the Bank.
    • “Get Out of Jail Free” Cards: If you possess any “Get Out of Jail Free” cards, they are returned to the bottom of the appropriate deck (Chance or Community Chest).
  • Debt to Another Player: If you owe more money than you can pay (including selling any unmortgaged properties) to another player due to landing on their property or drawing a card requiring a payment, you become bankrupt. In this case, you must hand over:
    • Property Deeds (Specific Ones): You only surrender the Title Deeds of properties that caused your bankruptcy (i.e., the ones you landed on and owed rent for, or the ones specified on a card requiring a payment to another player). Mortgaged and unmortgaged properties are both included in this handover.
    • Any Cash Remaining: Similar to bankruptcy due to the Bank, any remaining cash you have must be given to the creditor player.
    • “Get Out of Jail Free” Cards: Same as with the Bank, any “Get Out of Jail Free” cards you have are returned to the bottom of the appropriate deck.

Important Note:

  • Selling Before Bankruptcy: You cannot strategically sell your properties to other players for a ridiculously low price just to avoid bankruptcy. The selling price must be fair and agreed upon by both parties involved.

10. The game ends when one player goes bankrupt 

When the game feels like it has gone on for too long, it is tempting to end the game as soon as the first person goes bankrupt. However, according to the rule book, the game only ends when one player is left and everyone else has gone bankrupt. 

-Amber Crook


While these made-up rules might have added a chaotic (and perhaps even more competitive) twist to your childhood Monopoly battles, the official rules offer a strategic and balanced gameplay experience.

But hey, that’s the beauty of board games – they’re meant to be fun and flexible! If your family has cherished traditions built around those house rules, then by all means, keep them going! The most important thing is to gather around the board, create lasting memories, and maybe even unleash a little friendly (or not-so-friendly) competition.

However, if you’re looking to spice things up or settle a long-standing Monopoly dispute, give the official rules a whirl. You might be surprised at the depth and strategy they add to the game.

So, roll the dice, trade those properties, and remember – whether you play by the book or with your own house rules, the ultimate goal of Monopoly remains the same: conquer the board and become the ultimate real estate tycoon (or at least the most cunning player at the table)!

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