Tenant Sub-letting

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  • Tenant Sub-letting

    Hi,

    I am new to renting out property and recently rented a 2 bedroom flat to a single person. They told me that they would be living there alone. I found this a little hard to believe so tried to make it clear that if anyone else will be living there permanently then their name needs to be on the contract in the form of a joint tenancy.

    Soon after the tenant had moved in I came to look at a problem in the flat and found another person in the flat who when asked confirmed that they were also staying there. Minutes later another person came through the front door. When I asked the sole tenant about this I was told that they were friends and wouldn't be staying long. I then made it clear that the agreement that had been signed states that a guest is not allowed to stay any longer than 3 weeks at any one time.

    3 weeks have gone by and they are still staying in the flat. Having spoken to one of the new people it seems that they are planning to stay for the duration of the contract (6 months).

    What is my best course of action, turn a blind eye to it as long as rent is paid on time and no problems are caused or insist that the other people living there have their names added to the contract? Also do I have grounds to chrage extra rent or increase the deposit?

    Would be very grateful of any advice on the issue,

    Thanks
    Answers given are simply my own opinion and should not be interpreted as legal advise. Always seek legal assistance if you have any doubts.

  • #2
    - You have no ground to charge extra rent or increase the deposit.

    - There isn't a great deal you can do at removing "guests" - that term in the agreement is an unfair one as it impacts on the tenants quiet enjoyment of the property, you would not be able to enforce it IMO.

    - What does your AST say about subletting?
    Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.

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    • #3
      You may be interested in this thread on similar issue http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums...ghlight=lodger

      If the tenant is living in the house with the 2 new people, she is not subletting; she has taken in lodgers.

      As you agreement is for 6 months; it would be easy to put up the rent a little after the fixed term has ended; as 3 people cause more wear and tear to a property than 1.

      If the rent is paid on time and otherwise they are helpful you may want to turn a blind eye to it.

      If there are three unrelated people in a tenancy; the house becomes an HMO (house of multiple occupation), which may require more fire prevention measures to be installed. By letting your tenant have 2 lodgers, I believe that it is not an HMO. 2 lodges is the maximum one family can have in a home without it being an HMO. Members, corrrect me if I am wrong on that. So this may be more preferable for you.
      All posts in good faith, but do not rely on them

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      • #4
        Hi,

        Thanks for the replies,

        The contract states:

        "Not assign, underlet or part share possession of the property without the permission of the Landlord, such permission will not be unreasonably withheld"

        "Not allow any visitor to stay for more than 3 weeks in any three month period"

        Surely the tenant has signed this agreement so they should be aware of these terms and are subsequently in breach of the agreement. So there is nothing I can do about the tenant turning the lounge into a bedroom and charging rent to the extra people?

        At present the 2 extra people are not causing any obvious problems and the first rent is not due till the end of the month so I'll see what happends then.

        Thanks
        Answers given are simply my own opinion and should not be interpreted as legal advise. Always seek legal assistance if you have any doubts.

        Comment


        • #5
          Contract terms can not override the tenants rights as set in statute.
          Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by HappyFriendlyLL View Post
            Hi,

            Thanks for the replies,

            The contract states:

            "Not assign, underlet or part share possession of the property without the permission of the Landlord, such permission will not be unreasonably withheld"

            "Not allow any visitor to stay for more than 3 weeks in any three month period"

            Surely the tenant has signed this agreement so they should be aware of these terms and are subsequently in breach of the agreement. So there is nothing I can do about the tenant turning the lounge into a bedroom and charging rent to the extra people?

            At present the 2 extra people are not causing any obvious problems and the first rent is not due till the end of the month so I'll see what happends then.

            Thanks
            She has breached your agreement. You could point this out to her. But it is not a serious breach. It is not enough to merit court action. She will probably ask your permission retrospectively; and according to your contract, you cannot unreasonably withold it. I think it would be reasonable to allow one extra as there are 2 bedrooms, but you could object to 2, as this makes an HMO if they become joint tenants.

            You could also ask for a fee to get them credit checked before you allow them to become co-tenants, rather than her lodgers.

            You could say that if she doesnt get rid of her lodgers , then you will not be wanting to continue the tenancy after the fixed term; just serve the section 21 notice to expire after the fixed period has finished, and hope that she goes quietly. Any lack of cooperation on her part will obviously affect the kind of reference you will be able to give to any future landlord; this may matter to her or it may not.

            The easiest thing would be not to rock the boat and just see what happens.
            All posts in good faith, but do not rely on them

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            • #7
              Originally posted by MrShed View Post
              Contract terms can not override the tenants rights as set in statute.
              "Not assign, underlet or part share possession of the property without the permission of the Landlord, such permission will not be unreasonably withheld"

              "Not allow any visitor to stay for more than 3 weeks in any three month period"

              Are you saying that these are both "unfair terms" and cannot be enforced Mr shed?
              All posts in good faith, but do not rely on them

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              • #8
                No Bel, I am saying the second part is.
                Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Bel View Post
                  "Not assign, underlet or part share possession of the property without the permission of the Landlord, such permission will not be unreasonably withheld" You can state the tenant cannot assign OR sub-let, but not both, otherwise it is a potential unfair term.

                  "Not allow any visitor to stay for more than 3 weeks in any three month period" This would be unfair.
                  It is not a case of not being able to enforce potential unfair tems as only the courts can decide but it would be unwise to go against the guidelines for obvious reasons.
                  The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

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                  • #10
                    Paul is the first term not OK as it has the magic words "permission will not be unreasonably withheld"? IE it does not have a blanket ban on either assignment or subletting?
                    Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thanks everyone for the replies

                      Taking all the above into account I think I will leave things as they are for now then and see if the rent is paid on time.

                      Thanks again all,
                      Answers given are simply my own opinion and should not be interpreted as legal advise. Always seek legal assistance if you have any doubts.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        As you knowingly have three people staying in the flat, by definition you now have a HMO, or to be more precise a flat in multiple occupation as defined by the 'self contained flat test set out in the Housing Act 2004, section 254(3).

                        It has nothing to do with joint tenancies as long as one person within the unit of accommodation pays a rent.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by MrShed View Post
                          Paul is the first term not OK as it has the magic words "permission will not be unreasonably withheld"? IE it does not have a blanket ban on either assignment or subletting?
                          That's prefectly correct - just testing to see who was awake, and if you believe that you'll believe anything!
                          The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by red40 View Post
                            As you knowingly have three people staying in the flat, by definition you now have a HMO, or to be more precise a flat in multiple occupation as defined by the 'self contained flat test set out in the Housing Act 2004, section 254(3).

                            It has nothing to do with joint tenancies as long as one person within the unit of accommodation pays a rent.
                            Red40; I thought I had read somewhere that 2 lodgers staying with a family is not an HMO? Am I wrong?
                            And if I am right; whats the difference in this case as these 2 are lodgers at the moment.
                            Please help!

                            Added later: answering my own question.....does it only refer to if the owner has two lodgers?

                            So would a family renting a house, that take in 2 paying guest students for 2 weeks at a time be an HMO?
                            Last edited by Bel; 18-02-2007, 12:29 PM.
                            All posts in good faith, but do not rely on them

                            * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * *

                            You can search the forums here:

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Bel View Post
                              Red40; I thought I had read somewhere that 2 lodgers staying with a family is not an HMO? Am I wrong?
                              And if I am right; whats the difference in this case as these 2 are lodgers at the moment.
                              Please help!

                              Added later: answering my own question.....does it only refer to if the owner has two lodgers?

                              So would a family renting a house, that take in 2 paying guest students for 2 weeks at a time be an HMO?
                              It relates to an owner-occupier (resident landlord) who is permitted to have two persons staying with them, that wouldn't be a HMO. I am under the impression that the OP doesn't live in the property as well. Which wouldn't really matter as there are three persons additional living there.

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