The Telltale Signs Your Property Is Being Illegally Sublet

Did you realise that 10% of tenants openly admit to unlawfully subletting their rental properties*?

This practice becomes even more prevalent among younger individuals. According to a recent survey, 25% of tenants aged 18 to 24 have confessed to discreetly subletting some or all of their rented space.

Now, you might wonder why landlords should be concerned about illegal subletting, especially if rent is consistently paid on time. However, there are several valid reasons to consider:

  • You remain unaware of who resides in your property and the potential for illegal or problematic activities.
  • It can breach the terms of your mortgage and void your landlord insurance.
  • If your tenant sublets to multiple individuals, your property might unintentionally qualify as a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), which could lead to fines from the council.
  • The process of regaining possession of your property can become complex and costly.

So, how can you identify signs of illegal subletting?

  • An increase in the number of people frequently entering and exiting the property.
  • A surge in mail deliveries, including letters addressed to individuals not listed as tenants.
  • Overflowing bins.
  • Discovery of bunk beds or extra mattresses in bedrooms.
  • Your legitimate tenant avoids your calls and provides excuses to avoid visits.

To safeguard your property:

  • Ensure your tenancy agreement includes a subletting clause, either prohibiting it or requiring tenant permission. (For more advice, feel free to contact us.)
  • Raise tenant awareness – In the survey, around 75% of subletting tenants hadn’t checked their lease for permission. Never assume tenants understand the finer contract details; discuss subletting as a breach of contract at the tenancy’s start, and explain its potential impact on their contents insurance.
  • Conduct regular property inspections to stay informed.
  • Prioritise thorough reference and credit checks before signing new tenants.
  • Cultivate a strong landlord-tenant relationship. Quick responses to issues discourage boundary-testing.
  • Consider employing a reputable letting agent to oversee your investment, providing an additional layer of oversight.

Want to know more about our property management services? Contact us today.

* Figures in this article taken from a Direct Line survey, 2023

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