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