Tenants are subletting

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    Tenants are subletting

    Fellow landlords,

    After reading some of the horror stories from my fellow landlords on LandlordZone I realise my problem may seem somewhat trivial, but of course it doesn't feel insignificant. I've a suspicion that my tenants are subletting rooms in the property (on a cash-in-hand basis). The property is rented as a whole property (via an assured tenancy) and should have a maxium occupancy of 4 adults and 1 child. An unsettling conversation with a neighbour suggested that the actual occupancy may be double that.

    If the landlord of an HMO exceeds the number of tenants permitted by his HMO licence I gather the penalties by the council can be heavy, but in that situation, it's deliberate breach on the part of the landlord. In my case, it is the tenants who appear to be going strictly against the terms of the assured tenancy.

    As landlord, am I now open to possible prosecution? Short of evicting the tenants, what can I do to stop them subletting?

    Thanks for reading.

    The council can still prosecute the ultimate landlord for a breach of the licence conditions.

    How is the property being let - 4 adults and one child is an unusual set up - is it one joint tenancy or several individual tenancies?
    When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
    Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).


      You should inspect asap and probably weekly for a while, as well as formally reminding the tenants that any unauthorised sub-letting is in breach of the tenancy and will result in eviction. If you find extra people living there write to the tenants telling them they must remove the tenants as they are unauthorised.

      You will need good evidence that you have acted to reinforce your legal position that there is to be no sub-letting. I would probably evict these tenants anyway if they don't leave of their own accord, (which they might do if you successfully prevent them subletting).


        Report them to HMRC and council Hb or UC/he that they have the extra income.

        I know this works .......

        Inform tenants (when you have evidence), that you will be informing HMRC and benefits agency unless they remove other occupants immediately.
        I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...


          Thanks all for your thoughts so far.

          jpkeates The property is let by an estate agency and they found the tenants. It's supposed to be one household (of siblings/extended family), but something seems amiss. Does this affect liability (if the property is managed by an agent)?

          The tenancy is due for renewal in less than eight weeks anyway and it may just be easier not to renew with either the agent or the tenants. But without an agent how else does one find tenants? Perhaps it's better to just use an agent to find tenants and do background checks...

          Who'd be a landlord!


            The tenancy won't end in 8 weeks, it will just become periodic on substantially the same terms. If you want people to leave its an active process, not a passive one.


              DPT57 Yes, I suppose I meant that I would give notice in due course, given that there's now no point in evicting.

              It took circa 6 months to evict the previous set of undomesticated rabble. (What a nightmare they were. Bonfires in the garden, heavy punchbags installed on supporting walls, three inch nails hammered in everywhere, black mould, forever breaking appliances. [Shudders])

              Perhaps we landlords could make Her Majesty's Prison Service the option of our homes – as occupants they could hardly be much worse.


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