Is subletting the biggest issue in lettings today?

Time to think again if you assumed subletting was a social housing problem.  The private rental sector is far from immune to unscrupulous or misguided tenants, with subletting fast turning into a silent industry epidemic.

There is a shortage of affordable rental property, especially in cities where recent graduates, young professionals and migrant workers are searching for accommodation on meagre budgets. Until the Build to Rent programme delivers a deluge of rental properties, many tenants are competing to pay the lowest monthly rent. The situation is clear: a house will be more expensive to rent than a flat; a flat will be more expensive to rent than a room; a room will be more expensive to rent than occupying a friend’s sofa.

And that’s where the problem lies. There is a keen and growing audience looking for cheap let accommodation. There is also a growing band of tenants who can see potential in the property they already let. Driven by economics on both sides, sub-letting needs no fuel adding to its fire. A tenant struggling to pay the rent may let a room in the property to cover the bills. A renter on a budget would find it hard to refuse a cheap room in a decent house. It’s easy to advertise on Gumtree or Facebook for an additional occupant or two – and who’s checking?

Subletting is illegal and very damaging. When a tenancy agreement is signed, only those mentioned in the paperwork are legally allowed to inhabit the property. Even a boyfriend moving his girlfriend in without the landlord’s permission will break the tenancy agreement and potentially invalidate any home insurance. More people under one roof will create more wear and tear, more potential for damage and more mould-inducing condensation, presenting the landlord with increased maintenance issues. And what if a brought-in secondary tenant is unhappy with the ‘makeshift’ landlord – i.e. the original tenant? Who do they complain to? Is it unthinkable that your registered tenant might even have taken a deposit from the sub-let renter? Tenants can play letting agents at their own game and it has the potential to get messy in a poacher turned gamekeeper scenario.

If you’ve dropped the ball when it comes to mid-term inspections, now might be the time to schedule some property visits. Tell tale subletting signs include more toothbrushes in the bathroom than the number of tenants specified on the agreement; evidence of sleeping in the living room and increased utility bills for landlords who have provided an ‘all-inclusive’ rental package. Subletting is costing landlords thousands of pounds: don’t let it cost you your client.

* Dave Hunt is the Business Development Director of the ARPM Group, which provides national outsourced lettings and property management services.

ARPM

Simon Duce is the Founder and Managing Director of ARPM Outsourced Lettings Support - a business designed to help small and start-up letting agents/property managers offer a full suite of property management and tenancy administration services through outsourcing.

You May Also Enjoy

Breaking News

Weekly News Roundup – 12/04/24

A roundup of the week’s top property and proptech news stories in partnership with Proptech-X Table of Contents The Property Franchise Group partners with Coadjute Leasecake receives $10M to further serve real estate and location management operations for multi-unit operators Gravity Co launches 6th property in Notting Hill, London   The Property Franchise Group partners…
Read More
Breaking News

Breaking Property News – 11/04/24

Daily bite-sized proptech and property news in partnership with Proptech-X.   The Property Franchise Group (TPFG) partners up with Coadjute Network I know, yet another piece about one of my clients, but again it is big news and speaking personally great news, as estate agency is still unfortunately until now in the foothills with how…
Read More
Rightmove logo
Breaking News

Rightmove’s Weekly Mortgage Tracker

Headlines The average 5-year fixed mortgage rate is now 4.84%, up from 4.49% a year ago The average 2-year fixed mortgage rate is now 5.22%, up from 4.82% a year ago The average 85% LTV 5-year fixed mortgage rate is now 4.79%, up from 4.50% a year ago The average 60% LTV 5-year fixed mortgage…
Read More
Breaking News

Breaking Property News – 10/04/24

Daily bite-sized proptech and property news in partnership with Proptech-X.   Leasecake receives $10M to further serve real estate and location management operations for multi-unit operators Leasecake, a pioneer in lease and location management solutions tailored for multi-unit operators, today announced the closure of a $10 million Series A extension round. This significant infusion of…
Read More
Estate Agent Talk

Sustainable Home Energy: 3 Options for Greener Living

In today’s world, where environmental concerns are at the forefront of global discussions, the concept of sustainable living has gained significant traction. One of the key areas where individuals can make a tangible difference is in their homes, particularly by transitioning to sustainable energy sources. In this article, we explore three primary options for greener…
Read More
Breaking News

Breaking Property News – 09/04/24

Daily bite-sized proptech and property news in partnership with Proptech-X.   Gravity Co launches 6th property in Notting Hill, London London, Tuesday 9th April 2024 – Gravity Co, the London based leader in co-living and PRS brands dedicated to fostering community, flexibility, wellbeing and professional growth is thrilled to announce the launch of its 6th property in…
Read More