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The Dangers of Unauthorised Subletting

The Dangers of Unauthorised Subletting

27th October 2014

Unauthorised subletting in the UK is becoming a major problem for landlords and agents. It can also be fraught with dangers for the tenants and those who they sub-let to with illegal subletting now a criminal offence punishable by a prison sentence and a fine.

According to the company LetRisks, who provide property insurance and referencing services for landlords and agents, escalating rents across the UK and a shortage of affordable properties have led to a buoyant, but illegal sub-letting market.

In an attempt to crack down on tenancy fraud (specifically subletting), Oxford Council ran a two month-long amnesty period in August 2014, during which time those who were illegally sub-letting their homes could hand back the keys and avoid prosecution.

It is estimated that 3.3 million people in the UK are living as unofficial tenants; this equates to as many as 1 in every 10 rental homes. According to Direct Line figures from 2013, almost half of all residential lettings agencies have found multiple occupants living in a home unofficially during routine checks of the properties under their management.

Managing Director of LetRisks, Michael Portman warned about the dangers of rolling out the welcome mat: “subletting is a risk for private landlords. When there is multiple occupancy in a property, wear and tear and damage is dramatically accelerated…Illegal subletting falls under tenant fraud and it’s undoubtedly a growing problem.”

At SP Residential, we act on behalf of landlords to carry out thorough pre-letting checks of all tenants. The process of referencing a tenant enables us to check that the person is who they say they are; that they can afford the rent; and that they have honoured past commitments.

Although more of an issue in the social housing sector than the private rental market, our experienced team are always looking out for signs of illegal subletting and would report this immediately. Our property management team make regular checks on all rental properties and provide detailed feedback for landlord’s information. We also offer a ‘rent guaranteed’ property management option for your peace of mind. Complete the form below or call 01622 692206 to contact us for more details about letting your property with SP Residential and our property management services.

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