Subletting Scams – why landlords are afraid to report themMake Text Bigger
Many landlords are fearful to seek help from their local authorities in terms of dealing with subletting scams.
Just imagine this, you’ve jst let your nice little three bed house to Mr & Mrs Lovely and their two perfect children, only to find out that 10 of their family have also moved in. How would you feel?
Subletting scams can also go a stage further. Mr & Mrs Lovely may never actually move into the property, they simply cram as many immigrants in as possible (sometimes illegal immigrants) and charge them all a rent and make a huge profit.
The landlord then has numerous concerns including:-
- Mr and Mrs Lovely fail to live up to their name and stop paying rent, but they continue to collect it
- wear and tear on the property
- noise related issues affecting neighbours
- will their landlords insurance still be valid
- fire safety
- HMO licensing
- and so the list goes on.
You would think that a quick call to the local EHO (Environmental heath Officer) should sort the problem wouldn’t you? So far as I’m aware, EHO’s have every right to close the property down if they consider it to be a danger to human life, through overcrowding for example. In such circumstances, that’s exactly what many landlords actually want to happen. What they don’t want is to spend several months going through the Courts to obtain possession order, which under the circumstances they will inevitably obtain but at what cost to themselves and at what risk to human life in the meantime?
Whilst any legal action is ongoing the landlords property is probably getting ruined, they may not receive rent, the neighbours get very upset and the landlords ends up with a huge bill.
The fear of reporting such problems runs deep. Will the local authorities use the problem against the landlord? Will they take pictures of the property and use them in their anti-landlord propaganda to justify licensing schemes? Will the local authority press charges against the landlord for the state of the property, which may well have been perfect when they first rented it to Mr & Mrs Lovely?
In many cases, inventories prepared by landlords are not up to scratch so the fear of reporting problems is that tenants will claim the property was a death trap from day one and the landlord becomes a victim twice over!
I am hoping that any TRO’s (Tenancy Relations Officers), EHO’s (Environmental Health Officers) and others with the powers to actually do something about this will comment on the problem as well as landlords and letting agents.
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