Councils using ‘Intelligence’ to track down low EPC properties and fine £5,00015:08 PM, 29th March 2021
About 2 weeks ago 36
Imagine a 3 bedroom family house is let to a small family – a couple and a new born child for a very nominal rent of £900 per calendar month, excluding bills and CT. Later on they move downstairs into a large living room and make that as their bedroom, they then sub- let each of the three rooms upstairs, two double rooms and one single room, double rooms pocketing them £500 pcm each, and a single room pocketing them £300 pcm, so total rent collected from sub-tenants amounts to £1300 pcm, and the rent paid to landlord £900.
Hence the couple not only are now living for free, but also making a profit of £400, admittedly some of this will go towards furnishing and bills, but the landlord doesn’t know that his property is being sublet to such an extent that he may face stiff penalties from the local council for allowing his house to become unlicensed HMO. Not only that, but his property does not meet strict fire and safety regulations and 30min self closing fire doors, should this be found out by the council, where do you think the landlord stands?
Could the council say that it is the landlord’s responsibility to keep an eye on his property and not to allow it to become an unlicensed HMO, but then you stumble across privacy law, where a landlord cannot just butt in any time without giving his tenant a notice, and if he gives a notice, his tenant could well cover up his tracks and possibly claim that additional occupiers are his relatives on a short stay!
Where do you stand? In the middle I guess and get caught both by the Authorities and by the tenant, and suffer extra wear and tear on your property and face overcrowding charges too!
If one was to face this should one ask his tenant to sign a special declaration that he will not allow a 3 bedroom family house to become an unlicensed HMO as it is against the local council rules, and upon being found a house is being sub-let and more than one household occupies a dwelling, the council could bring up charges against any private landlord, for allowing sub-letting, so can a landlord serve a section 8 Notice if a tenant is sub-letting?
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