10:18 AM, 15th October 2018, About 3 years ago 18
Hello All, Last week, I carried out a general check up/inspection/’how’s it going?’ visit at the same time as a periodic electrical inspection. This was arranged with the tenant by text/phone.
It was surreal. I have never been in this position before.
The tenant, (a couple and their two small children), were not there. Neither was their furniture, coats, children’s toys, but his sister was along with her furniture. I have to assume it is his sister and there is no information or oddities in the information yet given to suggest she isn’t. She looked very relaxed and settled.
The alleged sister is sensible, pleasant and (I had small children once so this is in no way meant to be disparaging) the place is clean and tidy.
The previous month, I noticed and queried a ‘faster payment’ of rent by a name that was not the tenant’s. The explanation was that the sister was helping out. In the past, I have had tenants who sometimes had their rent paid by others; so not particularly notable. But I now suspect that the month before that was in cash and was also the sister.
The explanation offered by the sister was that the tenant had to go ‘home’ (family) to deal with personal problems and it suited them all that she give up her rented property and temporarily step in to support to keep the option to return open. No point in one of them renting an empty flat while she lived on her own elsewhere.
To give up a rented property the sister presumably gave 1 month’s notice.
My last visit was 2 months ago.
Further background. The tenant struggled last year and a half (redundancy at the same time as the arrival of a baby) and has modest arrears, but it was under control and arrears were being sensibly eroded with oodles of flexibility. At our last meeting 2 months ago everything was looking really good. Both had new jobs, he was starting college, eldest child starting school; a stressful but very positive time.
At the moment I genuinely don’t think there is ‘badness’ at play here though I reserve the right to change my mind if new information comes to light. However, I will directly accuse them of leaving me out of the loop and there is clearly a significant level of planning going back 3 months at least.
Prescribed info and how to rent guides all good. Deposit handed to the DPS within about 5 days of receipt. Regular rent statements provided. All relevant gas/elec certification continuously up to date.
I continue to communicate only with the tenant though in the last week that has proved impossible.
Soooooo, questions, questions, questions …
This is not clear cut subletting. What is it?
The sister is not the tenant. She has been told that she is not the tenant and that the tenant should pay the rent not her. If the Sister has been there for two months and effectively paid the rent what are the implications for me?
I would be happy with a deed of surrender with an immediate new tenancy agreement with the sister. Although I’m not sure what previous address to use for a tenancy agreement as she is already in the property.
I have to assume that I have discovered I am on dodgy ground but I have no idea what the lurking dangers are.
So, despite my irritation and on behalf of the tenant, (keeping a guarded positivity), your comments, please.
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