Subletting can lead to unlicensed HMO

by Readers Question

10:30 AM, 24th August 2015
About 6 years ago

Subletting can lead to unlicensed HMO

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Subletting can lead to unlicensed HMO

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.subletting

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?

Mike

Comments

Mike

11:05 AM, 22nd September 2015
About 6 years ago

Good on you Rudolf, I hope you will teach these bad tenants a good lesson, it is because when we don't take action, they think they can get away with this unacceptable behavior every time. I wish you plenty of energy and luck in doing so.

Rudolph Banton

14:12 PM, 22nd September 2015
About 6 years ago

Mike

Thank you! Seems one of the sub-letter wants to come on board with a letter of proof! I have also spoken to the previous Landlord and he had to take the tenant to court for none payment of rent! He's a Lawyer said; he never knew a person that could twist the truth to such extent! Utility bills on top up meters, Council tax and other bills unpaid!!

The council paid housing benefits and encouraged none payment of rent! Then the council have bailiffs searching for the tenant for none payment of council tax! It's crazy!

Sincerely

Rudolph.

Mike

0:57 AM, 23rd September 2015
About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Rudolph Banton" at "22/09/2015 - 14:12":

I took on a new tenant who was renting one room in a next door HMO, and as he had been bumping into me for almost 6 months as I was carrying out repairs and refurbishment, he pleaded with me to let him have my 3 bedroom house, whilst i was renovating, he also helped me with water for my kettle, as mine was turned off due to plumbing work, so i kind of felt obliged to take him on provided he met basic criteria like his immigration status, his job and income criteria, his bank statement for one year, and so on, so having signed him on, I explicitly told him that he cannot sub-let any part of my property as not only it would be illegal to do so from the local council's point of view but also he could land me in problems for allowing him to sub-let, as that would in my opinion would change the status of a 3 bedroom family home into an HMO, he seemed a little restless when I mentioned that, and said but he can bring his uncle and an Aunt to share some of the costs, to which I said as long as they are genuinely related to you not just by calling any old lady and an old man your uncle and aunty, so yesterday i went to inspect and found that his Aunty has her own fridge in a small box room, and his uncle in a third room also has has a small fridge, so I was not very happy with this man, who is probably taking advantage of my softness, I suppose one way to get rid of him would be to wait until his tenancy runs into 4th month and serve him a section 21, thereby giving him 2 clear months notice, or have I got any grounds to use section 8 for breaching the tenancy agreement which strictly prohibits him from subletting any part of this house. He also just had a baby girl, so I am not sure if a court may dismiss my section 8 on the bases that he is allowing a house to be used as an unlicensed HMO. So far he has managed to pay me rent on time. I took no deposit from him since I do not want to go to lengths of protecting it and getting it wrong and then having to pay back 3 times.

Rudolph Banton

9:57 AM, 23rd September 2015
About 6 years ago

On most lets I get a letting agent to find a tenant and they sort the deposits, but on occasions I get shafted when sympathy creeps in! Seems we are saddled with this good nature! With your tenant and so called aunt uncle and a pregnancy; legal advice would probably needed to ensure the rights of all are respected, this can be a lengthy and costly process! I think If a tenant lied on the tenancy agreement or defaulted on paying the rent it should be a simple court procedure before changing the locks giving 30 days notice to collect their belongings. Once a tenant lied on the onset of the agreement this person now has no respect for the landlord nor the courts, more likely to continue to deceive, therefore the fact is short coming if ever. Seems the court lends an ear to the tenant and given extra time for legal aid for reasons beyond me!

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