Around a third of private rented sector tenants in the UK admit that they are currently subletting their rented accommodation without the landlord’s consent and four out of 10 tenants plan to do so in the near future, according to new research.
The survey of 500 tenants, conducted by online letting agents PropertyLetByUs, also reveals that the vast majority of tenants - 96% - are subletting the property for a short time to help a family member or friend out and 82% claim they are subletting to help pay the rent.
More than half of tenants - 52% - say that they are planning to sublet their property in the near future without the landlord’s consent, while rather shockingly, 78% of those planning to sublet their home believe that they should be able to do so without the landlord’s approval.
Jane Morris, Managing Director of PropertyLetByUs commented: “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.
“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.
Last year, the government said it planned to make it easier for tenants to sublet a room by legislating against the use of clauses in private fixed-term tenancy agreements that expressly rule out subletting, or otherwise sharing space on a short-term basis. However, it has not yet set a date for a consultation on the plans.
PropertyLetByUs.com has put together some tips on what evidence to look for if you are suspicious that a tenant is subletting:
+ Remember it pays to make regular checks on the property – every 3-6 months is advisable
+ The tenants will be hiding evidence of extra tenants, so look out for additional clothing and shoes; excessive rubbish for the number of registered tenants; additional bedding like sleeping bags and pillows; suitcases and rucksacks; and extra toothbrushes
+ Before taking on a new tenant, make sure you carry out a thorough reference to ensure you know who your tenant is