How to ensure your tenants aren't subletting over the festive period

Mon 10 Dec 2018

With Christmas just around the corner, families across the country are making their plans for the festive period. Whether they’re travelling to visit loved ones, hosting Christmas at home or skipping the festivities altogether with a holiday abroad, there’s a fair chance your rental property could be left empty over the festive season. So, whether your tenants are hosting friends for a few nights or subletting their home for a few weeks, here’s the tell-tale signs of unwanted guests, this Christmas:

- Your tenants could start being more difficult – communication might become sparse and they may be resisting check-ins and inspections.
- Your might find extra rubbish and recycling – festivities aside, if your rubbish bins are brimming every week, your tenants could be hosting a more permanent guest.
- Your neighbours may notice extra visitors – if you suspect your tenants are subletting, your neighbours will probably be able to confirm. Whether they’ve spotted extra cars, new faces or more noise, they will probably have spotted any long-term guests.

What is subletting? By definition, subletting is the practice of an existing tenant letting all or part of a property to another. Rather than paying rent to the landlord, the subtenant pays the tenant.

Is it illegal? Subletting without permission means your tenants are in breach of their tenancy agreement, meaning you are entitled to take legal action. A sublet property can also mean your landlord insurance policy becomes null and void.

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With sites like Airbnb making sub-letting increasingly easier, it’s important to be aware of the risks of subletting, in particular that your landlord insurance could become null and void if your tenants are sharing – or even worse, letting – your home with someone else.

If you suspect that your tenant could be subletting, you must notify your property agent immediately.

If your tenants are interested in the prospect of sub-letting (e.g. if they are required to make a lengthy trip abroad, or have had a change in circumstances meaning they could let a spare room to a sub-tenant), then they should make a written request explaining their reasons to you and allow a reasonable amount of time for you to consider and reply to their request.

If you do consent to instances of sub-letting, an appropriate clause ought to be written in to a new tenancy agreement, outlining fresh terms and conditions. If you do not consent, you must express your response in writing and make your managing agent fully aware of the communications.

For any questions or queries surrounding subletting, do not hesitate to contact your property manager, or your local Leaders branch for more information.