An online letting agency claims a third of tenants are subletting without the agreement of their landlord, with an even higher proportion intending to do so at some time in the future.
A study by PropertyLetByUs shows that the overwhelming majority of those who do sublet normally do so to help a family member or friend. Some of the subletting is conducted via Airbnb or similar online platforms.
“It’s imperative that landlords make regular checks on the property to check for additional occupants” says Jane Morris, managing director of the agency.
“Many tenants will try to hide the fact they are subletting, so the warning signs can be excessive rubbish and accelerated wear and tear. There can be increased mould and condensation with more occupants” she says.
“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” Morris explains.
Last year, the Cameron government hinted that 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, little has been heard of the suggestion in recent months.