Subletting is fast becoming one of the leading grounds for tenant eviction. With the strong growth and influence of subletting-enabling services such as Airbnb, it is imperative that landlords have complete awareness of their properties and their occupants.
Despite the consequence of eviction, new research* has found that a third of UK tenants are subletting their property without their landlord’s consent whilst four in ten plan to do so in the future. Of these, only half disclosed that they plan on getting their landlord’s approval, but a much larger 78% believe they do not require permission.
The research also suggests that the main reasons for subletting are to help out family members or friends, with this accounting for 96% of cases and a further 82% claiming to sublet to help pay the rent.
Landlords should conduct regular checks on their properties
In order to crack down on unapproved subletting, landlords are instructed to conduct regular checks on their properties to look out for other or additional occupants. Subletting may not always be the simplest conclusion to draw as tenants will try and hide the fact that they are subletting without consent however, the warning signs include:
- Excessive rubbish
- Accelerated wear and tear
- Increased mould and condensation
- Additional clothing and shoes
- Additional bedding- e.g. sleeping bags and pillows
- Extra suitcases, bags and rucksacks
- Extra toothbrushes
In 2015, the UK Government outlined plans to make it easier for tenants to sublet unoccupied rooms by legislating against the use of clauses in private fixed-term agreements that explicitly rule out subletting. However, there is no set date for such plans to become legalised.
Avoiding tenant fraud
Therefore, it should be noted that illegal subletting currently comes under tenant fraud. To avoid falling victim to this type of misconduct, landlords are advised to complete thorough pre-letting checks in order to establish whether the person is who they say they are, is able to afford the rent and has honoured similar past commitments.
* research from PropertyLetByUs
Posted on August 2, 2016