As a landlord, have you ever considered if your tenant is sub-letting your property? It may be an idea that you’ve refused to entertain or simply just ignored. But new research suggests it may be something that is more prevalent than previously thought.
Indeed, one in six tenants have admitted to renting out part or all of their property to someone who isn’t on the lease agreement.
It is an audacious move as the consequences can be severe. In 11 per cent of cases, the tenants named on the lease were evicted, while six per cent lost their deposit in the process.
Other repercussions include landlords increasing the tenants’ rent in 22 per cent of cases or issuing a fine in 14 per cent of cases. A further eight per cent issued a formal warning, according to the research by insurer Direct Line.
One possible explanation for tenants embarking down the sub-letting route is that they are looking for ways of offsetting an increase in rents of five per cent in the past year.
The average rent has reached £739, meaning a third of people’s income goes towards providing a roof over their heads.
With this financial reality hitting tenants’ pockets, the prospect of an additional body contributing to the household rent and bills can be a temptation to break the terms of their lease.
While sub-letting to friends and family can help to keep the process off a landlords’ radar, renters even admitted in the research to sub-letting to strangers responding to an advert.
Sub-letting is most common in the North West and West Midland, where 27 per cent of private tenants say they have sub-let their properties, according to the research. London at 23 per cent is third, while renters in the South East at nine per cent and those in Northern Ireland at seven per cent are the least likely to sub-let their property.
Landlords also need to be aware that sub-letting can affect their landlord insurance as it may well be something that is not covered on their policy.
As such, it is important to identify if your tenants are engaging in such behaviour. A regular inspection of the property will help provide any clues as to whether you have permanent guests that are not named on the lease.
It is also worth reminding your tenants of your stance on sub-letting as some may be unaware they are in breach of the lettings contract.
How would you respond if you found your tenants sub-letting? Let us know below.
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22 June 2020 • 9-minute read
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