Subletting – A housing crisis for North West Landlords.

Subletting – the practice of an official tenant letting out part (or in some cases all) of their rented accommodation to another person, known as a ‘sub-tenant’. The meaning in legal terms is that the act of leasing the property comes from the tenant rather than the landlord. Most landlords will be well aware of this practice and when agreed fully it can work well for both landlord and tenant/s, for example when the landlord prohibits this practice and it is stipulated in the contract between landlord and tenant.

However there’s a current rise in cases of subletting where the landlord is unaware that the tenant is letting out part of the property to other ‘unofficial tenants’. Worrying this trend seems to be particular growing across the North West region. A recent study by Home insurance company Direct Line (yes we know, take anything from an insurance company with a pinch of salt), revealed that just over a quarter a tenants in the North West do or have sublet their rental home.

The North West Landlord’s Association highlighted cause for concern, suggesting that as well as the various legal implications landlords should be careful with having people who they don’t know and are typically un-vetted residing in their properties. Recent horror stories include huge fines when inadvertently failing to comply with HMO (Houses in Multiple Occupation) licensing legislation. The HMO legislation states that landlords must have a licence when letting properties which comprise of three or more storeys and compromise of 5 or more unrelated people.

With record numbers of evictions occurring and a 5% rise in rental costs over the last year some tenants are keen to protect themselves by generating additional income through sharing their living space unofficially. The growth of companies such as Airbnb means there are more avenues available for promoting unofficial, short and long-term subletting practices.

Naturally with February’s introduction of Right to Rent the focus is on the landlord to be aware of who lives at their property/s (including history and any unspent convictions) and so it’s crucial landlords protect themselves against unnecessary fines.

What are your experiences of subletting?

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