Concerning new research has revealed that roughly one third of private rented sector tenants in Britain have admitted to currently subletting their property without the consent of their landlord.
Four out ten tenants plan to illegally sub-let their property in the near future, according to an investigation by online letting agents PropertyLetByUs.
In a survey of 500 tenants:
- 96% were found to be subletting their property for a short period to help out a family member or a close friend
- 82% said they were subletting to help with rental payments
- 52% plan to sublet without consent in the near future
- 78% believe that they should be able to sublet without landlord permission!
Managing director of PropertyLetByUs, Jane Morris, said, ‘it is very worrying that so many tenants are subletting without telling their landlords. It is imperative that landlords make regular checks on the property to check for additional occupants. Many tenants will try to hide the fact they are subletting, so the warning signs can be excessive rubbish and accelerated wear and tear.’
‘When there is multiple occupancy in a property, wear and tear and damage is dramatically accelerated. There can be increased mould and condensation with more occupants. Landlords can also face expensive repairs for damage and redecoration costs, to bring the property up to the standard it was at check-in,’ she added.
Concluding, Morris said, ‘illegal subletting falls under tenant fraud and renting a property makes landlords vulnerable to fraud. It is vital that landlords and agents carry out thorough pre-letting checks. The purpose of referencing a tenant is threefold-to check the person is who they say they are; that they can afford the rent; and that they have honoured past commitments.’
If you are a buy-to-let landlord, make sure you are conscious of what to look out for should you be suspicious of subletting.
Follow these tips to seriously reduce the chances of your tenant subletting your property without your consent:
- Conduct sufficient reference checks-Before agreeing to take on a new tenant, it is vital that you carry out thorough reference checks. Make sure you obtain bank statements, references from previous landlords proof of employment. You do not want to be claiming on your rent guarantee insurance after conducting a poor credit check.
- Make regular inspections-It is vital that you make consistent checks on your property to ascertain if there are additional tenants living there. Try and make these checks every 3-6 months and make sure to give your tenants notice before you arrive.
- Be alert-Of course, extra tenants will mean more features such as clothing, shoes, rubbish and bedding. Be alert to anything that seems unusual or that was not there on your previous inspection.
- Include an inventory-It is vitally important that you carry out a full inventory when your tenant moves into your property. Document conditions of the exterior and interior, take photographs and be thorough. This will help you when checking for evidence of additional tenants, throughout the length of the agreement.