Sub-letting is becoming increasingly common in some cities. Landlords that choose to manage their own property may not know what to do if they find out their tenant is subletting in secret. Our law firm has helped numerous landlords in and around Manchester, out of difficult situations involving challenging tenants.
As house prices rise and continue to drive up the cost of a rental properties, it is becoming progressively common for tenants to sublet. Especially in city centre areas, like Manchester, Birmingham, London and Liverpool, If you are a landlord you may find yourself in a situation where your property is being sublet without your knowledge. Here’s what JMR Solicitors recommends that you do:
Speak to a solicitor about the sub-let
Subletting should not be muddled up with lodging, which is a distinct legal prearrangement, usually backed up with a licence agreement. When someone lodges they have the legal right to live in a part of a property but will not have exclusive possession of the whole property. Therefore, the landlord’s rights of enter to the property will remain as per the original tenancy agreement.
Sub-letting happens when your tenant starts their own tenancy agreement with someone else without your permission and gives them exclusive possession of a part (such as a spare bedroom), or perhaps all your rental property.
Check the tenancy agreement
The landlord will need to write a statement in the tenancy agreement to ensure subletting is not permitted to be able to take legal action against it.
The easiest way to ensure that your tenants will not sublet the property is to have a clause in the tenancy agreement asking the tenant to seek the landlord’s permission before subletting. However, you must remember, that without a good reason, you can’t refuse the sub-let.
Terminate the tenancy agreement
If your tenant then sublets without your permission to do so, or sublets when the rental agreement excludes them from doing so, they will be in breach of their tenancy agreement and are subletting illegally.
The landlord can therefore serve the tenant with a section 8 notice, detailing the breach of the agreement and terminate the tenancy agreement with relevant notice. If the tenant and subtenant refuse to leave the property on the end of the notice the landlord can begin possession proceedings at court.
Please note: Even after serving a Section 8 notice (Possession Notice) , if it becomes apparent that the landlord has given implied consent for the sub tenancy, the subtenant may have grounds to remain in the property and therefore could avoid eviction. This can happen if the landlord was aware of the sub tenancy and did not contest it for a period of time.
Alternatively, allow the sub-tenant to become your tenant
Landlords can always offer the subtenant a tenancy agreement themselves if they wish and allowing them to remain in the property on the basis of a sub-tenant.
If the original tenancy agreement does not include the clause about sub-letting, then the landlord can opt for the section 21 notice under the Housing Act 1988, which involves the tenant having to give up possession of the property by a specified date. The subtenant’s tenancy agreement comes to an end when the tenant’s tenancy agreement does by default. The subtenant will also have to leave the property accordance with the section 21 notice. Similar to the section 8 notice, if essential, after the deadline of the notice, the landlord can begin possession proceedings at court.
Landlords can consult JMR Solicitors to help them with tenancy agreements
Did you know, as a landlord or agent, a section 21 notice (Notice of Possession) cannot be served within the first six months of the tenancy agreement and will not be valid in relation of a fixed term tenancy agreement unless there is a ‘break’ clause included? This is why you should get a legal expert to check your tenancy agreement over for you.
Undoubtedly the rules and regulations for subletting are multifaceted and it is always suggested that you pursue legal advice in respect of such matters. Contact us on 0161 491 3933 for help and advice on all tenancy, landlord and Section notices guidance.