How to protect your Medway rental from sub-letting

New research, as reported by Letting Agent Today, from the insurance provider Direct Line has found that than 1 in 6 renters are sub-letting their properties, and 34 per cent of those did not inform the landlord of the decision to do so.

I remember a couple of years ago I had a tenant moving into one of my properties in Rochester, who asked whether they could sub-let the property. Naturally I refused, but this may not deter someone who is determined to do so without permission.

Read the full report at Letting Agent Today

The research found that 20 per cent of those sub-letters who did not inform the landlord were eventually caught and ended up losing their deposit or facing other penalties. Of even more concern to landlords is that 15 per cent of tenants are thinking of sub-letting their property on websites like Airbnb.

But how can you ensure your tenants don’t sub-let your Medway rental?

First thing is to ensure that there is a term well written into the contract regarding sub-letting and that the tenant understands that the contract prohibits it. It’s important to get this right, because if the term says that the tenant can sub-let with the landlord’s consent, then the landlord will not unreasonably be able to refuse consent.

If the contract doesn’t have a term on sub-letting, then the legal position will depend on whether your tenant is still within the fixed term or not. If it is within the fixed term, then your tenant can sub-let even without your permission. If it has rolled over into a periodic tenancy then the tenancy has no rights to sub-let and the landlord can refuse for any reason.

Secondly, regular inspections are important. Although 24 hours notice may give your tenants enough time to cover up evidence if they are unlawfully subletting, look for signs of unusual wear and tear or furniture being moved about to accommodate more people.

Other signs to look out for during inspections include: post addressed to people other than the tenants; clothing at property that doesn’t match size, age or gender of tenant and their household; photos on display that don’t match the tenant or their household; and locks fitted on internal doors.

Also keep an eye out for any telephone or utility bills not in tenant’s name or any car regularly parked on the driveway that doesn’t belong to tenant. Is part of the rent being paid by an unfamiliar name? Keep in contact with your neighbours and make note of any informal comments from them regarding the occupants of your property.

So in summary, make sure you have a decent contract and keep an eye on your property. If you wanted to discuss anything in this article you can give me a call- 07944 726676, or pop me an email at hasan@bullfinchproperties.co.uk.

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