Thursday, 9 November 2017

Ask Andy – My Warrington tenants may have sub let, what are my responsibilities?


Dear Andy,
I have been notified by the council that my tenants may be subletting, apparently 2 of the sub letters are trying to claim benefits. Where do I stand legally?
Thanks Amanda

Andy’s Answer:
Hello Amanda,
I hear your concerns, finding out a tenant may have sub let a room in your buy-to-let can be a worrying time. However there are landlords out there who will consider allowing tenants to take in lodgers. People who cannot afford a place to call home unless they rent a room may otherwise become homeless -ethical reasons why landlords may consider allowing subletting.
If your tenant looks after the property and pays the rent on time, is it in your best financial interest to evict the current tenant and start all over again?
Questions questions questions!

You may have fears that your buy-to-let will be open to abuse and will become a house for all and sundry. The new occupiers are an unknown quantity, are they suitable to be living in your property and what about the right to rent laws?
Well, If the tenant has taken in a lodger without telling you it is your tenants responsibility to complete the right to rent check as the tenant becomes the lodgers landlord.
Your tenancy agreement should have a clause which stipulates no sub-letting whatsoever or at the very least without prior written consent from the Landlord. You do not have to give permission, if you do, you are at liberty to attach conditions to the consent if necessary.
A landlord cannot evict a subtenant. Remember, the landlord has no contractual relationship with the subtenant, even though the subtenant is living in the landlord’s property.
My take on this – I would rather know what’s going on in the property and retain full control. I would complete full checks on the new person and create a new tenancy with the new tenant added. This makes the occupier a tenant instead of a lodger but that way their status is clear and if one of the tenants leave, leaving the other in the property, possession is usually simpler.
Until next week

If you are a Warrington landlord or tenant and would like to talk about your property, I am here to help. All you need to do is give me a call on 01925 235 338 or drop me an email on andy@hamletwarrington.co.uk