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What To Do When Tenants Sublet Your Property

Tenant Subletting

Subletting is becoming more of an issue for some private landlords. Tenants are facing higher costs and many are committing over 50% of their salary towards their monthly rent. In the face of this increasing financial pressure, it's not surprising some tenants are looking towards subletting as a means to meet their monthly rent payment.


When this happens, it puts you as a landlord in a difficult position. What do you do if your tenant is subletting? And what are the ramifications for both you and your tenant if this is the case?


Is subletting really an issue?


In some circumstances, you may be happy for your tenant to sublet. You might be receiving the rent every month without a problem. The property is clean and tidy. Your tenant may even have approached you before bringing another person in. If so, you may decide that subletting is OK.


If so, what you do next depends on what's in your tenancy agreement. Most landlords include a clause in the tenancy agreement prohibiting subletting. If you've done this you have a decision to make. The easiest course of action is to do nothing and just let the situation continue. But as we'll see that can cause issues further down the line.


The best course of action, if you're happy to let the current tenant stay despite them violating the tenancy agreement, is to add the subletter onto the lease. The occupiers then become joint tenants and you and your tenants are on much firmer ground legally.


However, if you’re not happy to let the situation continue and your renter has broken the tenancy agreement you need to consider legal action. Especially if the tenant has moved out.


The problems caused by subletting


Tenants rarely see any issue with subletting. 'I'm paying the rent so what's the problem?" is the usual train of thought. But of course, there are two main issues subletting can cause you as a landlord.


The first is the possibility of overcrowding. Your tenant could turn your property into an HMO depending on how many subletters there are. This, of course, will cause you untold problems with overcrowding, safety and licensing.


The second and probably more likely issue for you is that you have no legal agreement with the subletters. You can't do anything about the subletters until you've evicted your tenant.


You don't have to immediately start eviction proceedings. You can choose to approach your tenant and explain the position. If they acknowledge the issue and move the subletters out you have the option of continuing the tenancy as normal. However, if the tenant refuses to take action you have to evict.


Evicting your tenant


Before you can evict any tenant, you have to have a valid reason. If you're serving a Section 8 notice that is. If, as is standard, you’ve a clause in your tenancy agreement prohibiting subletting you immediately have cause to evict. If the tenant has moved out and sublet the whole property you have further cause as the tenant must of course use your rental as their main residence.


Once you have served the eviction notice you have to go through the legal process. As you know this can drag on if the tenant proves intransigent. Hopefully though the eviction will proceed smoothly and the subletters will leave with the tenant. If this isn't the case you’ll need to evict any person remaining in the property once the tenant leaves.


Private landlords can find tenants fast by listing their property with MakeUrMove the online letting platform bringing landlords and tenants together.

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