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.
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.
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.
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.
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.