9:19 AM, 30th April 2020, About A year ago 12
My son has a HMO property which was let in January to four overseas students who claimed to be two married couples. Having done the Right to Rent checks, their documentation appeared to be above board. The passports were valid and had the correct student Visas and they had evidence of student registration at universities. Everything appeared to be well and there were no major issues – they were polite and well behaved.
My son even deferred their rent for a month due to the lockdown and them not being able to work or attend university.
However, it has come to my son’s attention that they have sublet part of the property to other overseas students. This only became apparent after there was a domestic abuse issue and the abused person is one of the subtenants and she contacted my son for help. It also transpires that one of the couple are not actually married, but is married to other subtenants. We didn’t ask to see their marriage certificate as it was no concern of ours whether they were married, boyfriend/girlfriend or cohabiting and wanted to respect their privacy.
The abused woman subtenant wants to return to her home country, but can’t as flights are banned. It is unlikely the council will rehouse her – she approached a centre for victims of domestic abuse and this was what they told her (and me). She also claims that the other tenants are engaged in money laundering, but we have no evidence of this.
In the meanwhile she has no choice but to stay in my son’s property. The question is how can we remove the subtenants under the current circumstances? They have no tenancy agreement and My son obviously does not want to be in breach of his HMO licence.
Lockdown or no lockdown the tenants will also be told they are in breach of their lease and asked to vacate the property ASAP and will be served with a section 21 notice and a section 8 notice. The section 8 notice will state the grounds for notice being : (1) in breach of the tenancy agreement by subletting the property; (2) creating a nuisance through the use of violence or threats of violence and intimidation (even though it is against a subtenant) (3) providing false information when taking up the tenancy (4) money laundering. We suspect as they are on student visas they won’t want trouble with the police and Home Office and may vacate sooner than the 3 months the government has stipulated.
If anyone has any advice on how to proceed, it would be appreciated.
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