How to deal with tenant subletting to cousin in breach of AST?

by Readers Question

7 months ago

How to deal with tenant subletting to cousin in breach of AST?

Make Text Bigger
How to deal with tenant subletting to cousin in breach of AST?

We have tenants (a couple & their two children) in our B2L. They look after it and pay the rent on time and I’d like them to stay.

We had a big void before they moved in and we accepted a significant discount on the market rent. When I inspected the property in June, there seemed to be someone sleeping in the dining room and I queried this with them.

They said it was a cousin who was staying for a month till she got on her feet. I reminded them that as per the AST (and my mortgage) they cannot sublet or have anyone living there who isn’t on the AST, but agreed she could stay temporarily.

On my inspection last week the room was still occupied. Again I queried this and was told it’s the same cousin and that she was contributing to the bills. I reminded them that this was a breach of the AST, but said I’d find out if it would push us into a HMO scenario which would be unacceptable.

I’ve checked legislation and with the council and a cousin would be classed as “one household” so that’s a relief!

Their 12 month AST expires on 28th February and I’m not sure what the best course of action is. I know I will need to establish her Right to Rent. How do I establish that they are actually cousins in case the council/mortgage company want proof, would a letter from the tenants confirming their relationship suffice?

The current tenants are covered by LERGI. Do I reference the cousin and add them to the AST? Should this be conditional on them being eligible for LERGI? What do I do if the cousin doesn’t pass referencing?

Do I make the cousin jointly & severally liable on the AST?

Also, I was going to put the rent up by £25pm on the new AST as I want to keep them, but the house is significantly below MV. If the cousin stays (therefore removing my concern for their affordability), should I increase the rent to the MV from last year which would add £125pm?

I realise rents have been falling/stagnating in the SE.

I’d appreciate your advice, thoughts and suggestions – thanks.

Heather



Comments

Neil Patterson

7 months ago

You could consider giving your tenants permission to have a lodger.

Check out a potentially similar article >> https://www.property118.com/will-lodger-affect/

Darren Peters

7 months ago

They might be being charitable to their cousin but they have been dishonest with you. You say that their rent is below market value - it's even more below market value if they are utilizing your roof over three heads instead of two.

Giving them a right to a lodger means that anybody might be under your roof without any referencing or control by you.

I would tell them that the cousin must go on the new AST and must be referenced/checked for right to rent with proper ID or you will not renew the tenancy. If they don't want to do this, you have to ask yourself why they don't. You might also add something to the rent but my main concern would be taking some control over who is in my BTL.

Darren Peters

7 months ago

I just received a comment update in my e-mail saying,

"Landlord ...What the hell is your problem . His family member is staying . So bloody what . They are…"

The comment seems to have been removed so apologies if I miss another point that was made. My problem would be that the authorities might decide I had accepted a de-facto tenant without right-to-rent checks being done. Also that the tenants have said one thing and done another. Ie it's not a temporary arrangement but a permanent one. They have added more risk to the landlord.

I can see how the tenants might object to a higher rent but they shouldn't have a legitimate objection to clarifying and formalizing the relationship. That element costs them nothing, unless they have something to hide.


Leave Comments

Please Log-In OR Become a member to reply to comments or subscribe to new comment notifications.

Forgotten your password?

OR

BECOME A MEMBER

It a personal Brexit for this landlord!

The Landlords Union

Become a Member, it's FREE

Our mission is to facilitate the sharing of best practice amongst UK landlords, tenants and letting agents

Learn More