My sub tenants have not paid rent and claim I have no rights?

by Readers Question

10:19 AM, 5th September 2016
About 2 years ago

My sub tenants have not paid rent and claim I have no rights?

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My sub tenants have not paid rent and claim I have no rights?

Dear Readers, my situation is as follows, I rented a 3-bed flat in 2010 and lived there with my friend for 4 years (he is not on AST) then I moved to another country due to work. problem

Since then, the rooms have been sublet to 3 more people plus my friend still lives there (and pays to me). This month my 3 sub-tenants have not paid the rent. I have tried to get in touch several times with each one but they do not respond.

Today they’ve sent a message to my friend and said they have contacted housing association (strange as flat is privately rented) and threatened that I have lost any right to the flat as they have signed with housing directly.

They asked my friend to move out by 1st Oct and said locks will be changed then. Flat was unfurnished when I let it and I provided them with all appliances and furniture (for 4 rooms). I haven’t been contacted formally by anyone yet.

How do I deal with this?

I must say I considered myself a tenant and them as lodgers and when they moved I did not register their deposits thinking I don’t have to. Now I do realise that as I am not living there literally, they are not lodgers. However, I never wanted to loose this flat as I thought about coming back at some point and moving back (it has been 3 years I am not there).

Do they have rights to get rid of me? They never had any problems, I always responded to repairs, I even started paying for cleaning weekly as they never kept cleaning turns and I cared about maintaining the flat well.

The agency recently signed new contract with me (after almost 6 years perodic), they increased the rent by around 12% and I agreed but didn’t ask sub-tenants to pay more. I have been more than fair to them, just bought brand new fridge/freezer as old one broke and new mattress for 1 room.

In regards to my landlord, I haven’t defaulted on rent by even 1 day for over 6 years. As I have been so long with them and good tenant as they say, they have never cared or asked if I sublet.

I am asking for advice as I have been so stressed that I barely can breathe or eat!

Thank you in advance.

Anna



Comments

Neil Patterson

10:21 AM, 5th September 2016
About 2 years ago

Dear Anna,

It is not clear if the Landlord or agents know if the property has been sublet.

If they don't they will need to know and help sort this out as the property may not even be covered by the insurance now.

Ian Narbeth

12:05 PM, 5th September 2016
About 2 years ago

I suggest you urgently get some proper legal advice. You are almost certainly in breach of the AST by sub-letting. You have not registered the deposits which may mean you get fined up to 3 times the amount of the deposits. The subtenants are clearly going to cause you trouble. Once they get wind of the deposit issue, expect to receive nasty threats and demands for payment.

It is perhaps unfortunate you have signed a new tenancy as you will be bound throughout the term and cannot leave on a month's notice. Your best option may be to try to get out and have the new tenants take a lease direct from your landlord but if you are effectively subsidising them, they won't pay the full rent.

I am afraid being a decent person is not a substitute for being business-like and understanding, and complying with, your legal obligations. It is imperative you now get some proper advice before you dig yourself deeper into a hole. With the best will in the world, replies on this forum are not going to enable you to solve your problems.


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