Half of tenant sub-letting occurs behind the backs of landlords

Butter wouldn't melt: not all tenants are playing by the rules...

Butter wouldn't melt: not all tenants are playing by the rules... - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Almost half of tenants who sublet their property do so without their landlord’s consent, according to new findings from the National Landlords Association.

The findings come as the government recently announced proposals to introduce minimum room sizes in order to crack down on problems with private rented accommodation such as unauthorised subletting, which often results in overcrowded and cramped properties.

Of the eleven percent of tenants who say they have sublet all or part of their property before, just five percent did so with their landlord’s permission.

A quarter (26 percent) of tenants say they have approached their landlord about subletting but have had the request declined, and 63 percent say they have never asked their landlord about subletting their property.

Overall, the findings show that around a third of tenants have approached their landlord about subletting their property, with a fifth of requests being permitted by the landlord.

Carolyn Uphill, Chairman of the NLA, said:

“These findings indicate that subletting is not common in private rented homes, but worryingly that where it does happen, much of it takes place behind landlords’ backs, without their knowledge or permission.

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“This isn’t something apparently harmless, like putting your flat on AirBnB while you are on holiday. We are talking about individuals looking to deceive their landlord and maximise their personal gains at the expense of proper property management standards and the risk of others. It not only increases the cost of renting for the unwitting sub-tenants, it affects their rights and can reduce security of tenure.

“Subletting can also breach a landlord’s mortgage terms, the conditions attached to licenses granted for letting out shared homes, and invalidate existing insurance products - so they must be aware of the problems it presents.

“The NLA advises all landlords to insert a clause into new tenancy agreements that makes clear sub-letting is only allowed with the landlord’s permission, which should not be unreasonably withheld. This would reduce their exposure to a whole host of unnecessary risks, including hefty fines and even a prison sentence”.

Landlords who are worried that subletting may be occurring in their properties without their permission should seek advice from a professional organisation such as the NLA which can provide help and support.

Visit www.landlords.org.uk for more information.