Subletting a property but refused consent

by Readers Question

9:52 AM, 29th April 2015
About 4 years ago

Subletting a property but refused consent

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Subletting a property but refused consent

I’m currently living in a room in a rental property under a tenancy agreement scheduled for a period of 4 months. Unfortunately my work situation has changed and I’ll be moving away from the area. I’ve found another person willing to take over my tenancy agreement for the room, but have been told by the letting agent that it’s unacceptable to have the new tenant come in and take over my tenancy. They wish to charge myself a fee for breaking the tenancy agreement as well as charge the incoming tenant full fees for coming in. Subletting a property but refused consent

I’ve asked about subletting the room for the remainder of the period to the new tenant as it says in my lease I may do so if I get permission from the landlord, and that permission will not be unreasonably withheld. The agent once again said that this is unreasonable as that’s not how they operate.

Is there anything I can do about this to avoid the fees the letting agent is looking to charge the pair of us?

Thanks

Alan O’Shea



Comments

Mark Alexander

11:07 AM, 29th April 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi Alan

As you might expect, I am going to answer your question from a landlords perspective.

If my agent had included the words "permission will not be unreasonably withheld" in relation to subletting I would be furious with him because this would necessitate me having to provide a very good reason to decline permission and open me up to litigation.

The practicalities of subletting are that my insurance would probably be void and that I might know nothing about the person living in my property. I could also be in default on my mortgage.

From your perspective you have the right to demand good reason for consent being denied and I suspect the Courts would support you if you were to make a claim for your losses if you were to take action via the Small Claims Court.

There may well be good reasons for refusing consent but the words that have been used in your tenancy create ambiguity. If you were simply to leave the property and stop paying rent at this stage than your letting agent or your landlord would have to pursue you for money that he feels is due. This may well involve you having to appear in Court but when you show the Judge the correspondence you have referred to I doubt the landlord/agent would have a leg to stand on. This would leave the landlord having to make a decision as to whether to bring a claim for losses caused by the agents negligence against the agent.

See now why I would be furious if my agent had used those words?
.

Mandy Thomson

11:18 AM, 29th April 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi Alan

Could I just clarify that you are in fact living in a shared house but your LANDLORD lives somewhere else? That is to say, you're NOT a lodger?

Thanks,
Mandy

Dr Rosalind Beck

12:24 PM, 29th April 2015
About 4 years ago

I think the letting agent is being unreasonable. I allow tenants to break contracts if they can find someone else suitable to seamlessly take over the tenancy. And I charge nothing for this. But I speak as a private landlord.

Alan O'Shea

17:21 PM, 29th April 2015
About 4 years ago

Thank you for your responses. I don't mind if I continue to be the name on the lease and being responsible for the payment of rent to the agency, and from there dealing with the sub-letter myself as I know him from work.

Mark, I understand why you'd be furious. I'm going to contact the agent and ask what the reasoning is behind him refusing to allow a sublet. He previously said that since he's the agent for the landlord that he is the landlord and makes the judgement. When I asked about a separate related issue the letting agent said the concerns would be passed on to the landlord, but I never heard back.

Mandy, that's correct. I rent a room in a shared house, but the landlord doesn't live with us. We've never met nor heard from the landlord,

Ros, thank you. Hopefully the agent will come around to this point of view.

Colin Dartnell

1:12 AM, 1st May 2015
About 4 years ago

Write to the landlord and explain the situation and tell them what the agent is trying to do regarding fees.

I wonder if they will try to charge the landlord for finding a new tenant even though you found them!!

Alan O'Shea

7:32 AM, 1st May 2015
About 4 years ago

I've asked for the landlord's contact details twice, once for a separate issue and was told that my message would be passed along, but never heard back. I've have been told they can't be given out, and over the phone the agent said he is the landlord because he's the landlord's agent. The original email I got when I asked said there would be a fee for the administration costs the landlord would incur, but these fees are reduced because they didn't have to advertise or show the room.

Neil Robb

21:16 PM, 3rd May 2015
About 4 years ago

Question did you pay a deposit is the landlords details there. Is the landlord a registered landlord so his detail should be on the councils list as well as the agents. So try find out that way.

I would write and explain that your find the letting agents decision unreasonable and as the agreement does state you can do this then you will be leaving the property as they have failed to for fill the tenancy agreement. You have asked on several occasions for the landlords details which the agent refused to give. If there is a landlord registration scheme in place the owners details must be on there. If not I believe the council can act on this if the agent has any wit he will just let you go as long as the new tenant passes credit check or has a guarantor.

Like everything we can only pass advice on what we see here. I had a tenant leave my property last week just by chance I called on Friday to be told they moved Thursday what did I do? Phone someone I knew was looking a place.

Mark Crampton Smith

15:06 PM, 9th May 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "29/04/2015 - 11:07":

Mark, the clause in the tenancy agreement has "not to be unreasonably withheld" in to protect you (the landlord) from having an unfair clause in a tenancy agreement. An unfair clause in an AST might invalidate the whole contract. The competition and markets Authority has the job of "policing" contracts subject to the Unfair terms regulations (99) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unfair_Terms_in_Consumer_Contracts_Regulations_1999
Unless it is an individually negotiated clause you would need the "not unreasonably withheld" clause in to protect yourself as for example with your pet clause. Many of the "off-the-shelf" tenancy agreements that i see private LLs using would fall foul of this legislation.

Mandy Thomson

15:12 PM, 9th May 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Crampton Smith" at "09/05/2016 - 15:06":

Too true - I'm shocked at some of the rubbish "lodger agreements" I've seen that are (allegedly) drafted by "lawyers"...


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