Your Tenant Is Sub-Letting

Sometimes unforeseen circumstances arise in a tenancy and which can pose a difficulty for landlords.  

A good example of such an instance could be if your tenant has moved someone else into your property without asking your permission. What should you do and how do you stand legally? 

What to Do if a Tenant Is Subletting?

Well, first of, by moving another individual your tenant is no doubt in breach of their tenancy agreement (ie lease). That’s because most tenant leases have a clause which forbids this to happen without the landlord being notified first. Otherwise, the tenant is deemed to be sub-letting.  

Why this is particularly problematic for a landlord is because the tenancy agreement is with the original tenant. If he or she moves out and the other individual they have sub-let to decides to stay then it means you would have difficulty repossessing the property if they stopped paying rent. And they would be allowed to stay in the property because once your tenant agreed for them to move in to your property, they became what is recognised in property law as a ‘permitted occupier’. 

Here at Property Loop we all agree that you would, eventually, be able to have them evicted but it would be more complicated than a straight-forward eviction with a legal tenant. In addition, it would take longer than a few months – during which time you are out of pocket and having to pay the mortgage yourself. 

Another difficulty with the above scenario is that it could negate your insurance for the buy to let. It could also breach the terms of your own lease if the property is leasehold and you don’t own the freehold for it. If your property is a House of Multiple Occupation then it could cause you a serious issue by breaching your licence conditions. 

Amend the Tenancy Agreement

In order to avoid any of the above, you can agree for the other individual to live in your property and make sure it is officially acknowledged by adding their name to the tenancy agreement. This means that as a landlord you are protected and, at the same time, the tenant’s contract remains valid. Do this by writing to your tenant and telling them they are in breach of their tenancy agreement until they agree to having the lease amended with the individual’s name added to it.

Tenant Pays for the Amendment

The cost of amending a tenancy agreement, we have found here at Property Loop, is usually around £50 plus VAT. Because your tenant requested the other individual moves in, he or she can be charged to make the amendment to the lease. This comes under Schedule 1 of the Tenant fees Act. But be careful – it states that the fee can only be charged if the original tenancy agreement mentions this. If yours doesn’t then get it changed now to protect your legal rights. 

Refusing Permission for Another Tenant

Of course, as the landlord, you don’t have to agree to the other individual moving in. If your tenant refuses to budge and insists he or she can stay then, unfortunately, you’ll have to go through the current court system to remove the tenant. 

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