How to deal with a tenant who is illegally subletting

How to deal with a tenant who is illegally subletting

The first important piece of advice for landlords is this: make it clear from the outset (the start of a tenancy) if you won’t allow your tenant to sublet a space or unit they rent from you.

Why do this? Because subletting is legal in the UK. However, if you, as a landlord, have made it unambiguously clear in your tenancy agreement that you don’t give permission for the tenant to sublet your property at any point during the tenancy, then that is binding. This will give you leverage and support your case should you need to take legal action against your tenant if they sublet the property against your wishes.

If you have taken such precautions and stated in the tenancy agreement that you do not want your tenant to sublet the property and they do so anyway, then there are steps you can take to deal with the situation.

Contact the original tenant

You have no right to evict the subletting tenants as you have no legal agreement with them. Always liaise with the original tenant and try to rectify the situation as amicably as possible. If your tenancy agreement prohibits subletting, then your tenant has breached the terms of the agreement, and you have grounds for legal action. However, this should always be a last resort, and we advise informing the original tenant of the breach, giving them 30 days – or another specified time period – to deal with the problem. State your plan of action to the original tenant, informing them of what you plan to do if the situation is not dealt with.

HMO concerns

If the property is being sublet illegally to quite a few more people, then it may have become an HMO. This may invalidate your insurance and put you at risk of prosecution. Inform the council of the situation as soon as possible.

Reporting a tenant who is subletting

If you are letting to a tenant in receipt of housing benefit, then you can report the tenant to the council. However, it can still be worthwhile to advise the council of the situation even if the tenant is not receiving housing benefit.

If you suspect criminal activity, it is advisable to contact the police, and if Right to Rent rules have been violated, it is best to inform the Home Office. As a landlord, you always want to make sure you do things by the book and stay on the right side of the law.

Explore your legal options

You can take legal action against the original tenant if you prove they are in breach of contract and they fail to rectify the situation within your stated timeframe. You can then serve your tenant notice to quit the property. The type of notice will depend on the tenancy agreement you have in place.

Once the original tenant has left the premises, you can then act to evict any subletting tenants still in the property. Once the legal process has reached its completion, you can then look to start another tenancy with a new tenant.

For advice or support on letting property in Westminster, Pimlico, Belgravia or other central London areas, contact our team today.

Tags: Landlords

Getting in touch

ANDREW REEVES - Westminster

81 Rochester Row, Westminster, London SW1P 1LJ
Sales: 02078811310
Lettings: 02078811315


63 Lupus Street, Pimlico, London SW1V 3EY
Sales: 02078811320
Lettings: 02078811325