Tenant has sub-let a room – help!!

by Readers Question

21:53 PM, 9th March 2015
About 4 years ago

Tenant has sub-let a room – help!!

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Tenant has sub-let a room – help!!

We own one BTL property which we have rented to a couple for the last two and a half years without any problems – rent has always been on time, property maintained very well etc. Initially it was a one year contract which has just rolled on. Tenant has sub-let a room

Within the last couple of days it has come to my attention that the joint tenants have split up and that the lady has actually already moved out. Not wanting to move, but unable to cover the rent and bills by himself, my remaining tenant has then without my permission sub-let the bedroom and he has moved all of his belongings into what was the living room. This has apparently been the situation for the last few weeks.

I am most unhappy about this situation and plan to serve the relevant notices for him to officially move out. My tenant has apologised for the situation that he has created and has offered to move out quickly if convenient to me. The issue therefore lies with the additional person that he has rented a room to. Apparently, no tenancy agreement has been signed and no deposit has been taken and no locks have been fitted to any internal doors. This person is however refusing to move out without 2 months notice.

Can anyone offer any advice as to what would be the best way for me to now proceed?

Thanks in advance

Claire



Comments

Mark Alexander

21:56 PM, 9th March 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi Claire

Fear not, your unwanted occupier has virtually no rights and you certainly don't need to give two months notice, even if your tenant has granted a tenancy or taken a deposit.

All the law requires you to do in these circumstances is to give "reasonable notice". There is no legal definition of this but the accepted practice is two weeks. If they have not moved out after this time you are perfectly at liberty to gather up their belonging and have the locks changed when they are out.

Your tenant, on the other hand, does have rights but that doesn't sound like it is a problem from what you have said..

Good luck.
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Ian Ringrose

10:21 AM, 10th March 2015
About 4 years ago

Also your tenant has to cover ALL your costs including lost rent, while the "other" person is removed.

Personally I think your tenant has been sensible, much better then not paying you the rent!

Joe Bloggs

12:28 PM, 10th March 2015
About 4 years ago

sub letting happens a lot and we turn a blind eye to it on the whole if the property is not overcrowded and being looked after.

Ian Ringrose

13:03 PM, 10th March 2015
About 4 years ago

The BIG problems starts when your tenant is not living at the property and is letting all the rooms out as a HMO!

Jerry Jones

13:37 PM, 10th March 2015
About 4 years ago

Yes, quite. Why is there a problem with the tenant having a lodger/sharer, out of interest?

Mark Alexander

13:40 PM, 10th March 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Jerry Jones" at "10/03/2015 - 13:37":

I presume it could be a problem if the lodger/sharer took the number of occupiers into HMO licensing territory.
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John Daley

15:44 PM, 10th March 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "10/03/2015 - 13:40":

Hi Mark,

Needs to be three to be an HMO.

Robert Mellors

16:34 PM, 10th March 2015
About 4 years ago

It is my understanding that in such a situation the other person is simply a lodger with a "bare licence" i.e. a permission from the tenant to use the room. That permission can be revoked at any time, and the person can be asked to leave (7 - 14 days notice would usually be "reasonable"). I presume that after that period of time the person is then an unlawful occupier, i.e. a trespasser, and then like Mark says, I believe you have the right to peaceably evict him, e.g. by changing the locks when he is out.

I'm not a solicitor so my interpretation may be wrong........., perhaps the solicitors and barristers on here could confirm whether a lodger automatically becomes a trespasser if they do not leave at the end of reasonable notice?, and whether the actual tenant and/or head landlord can then simply change the locks to evict the lodger?

Mandy Thomson

17:43 PM, 10th March 2015
About 4 years ago

It's very unlikely to be a tenancy, as the landlord (in this case the tenant) is living on the premises, no locks have been installed, and facilities are being shared - this is regardless as to whether the letting agreement is written on a standard AST or it's a proper lodger agreement (lodger landlords often make this mistake as they don't do their research beforehand and find out the difference). However, if that person (the lodger) is paying rent, and the lodger landlord has given him permission to live there, he has a licence under a contract - he's more than a bare licencee (which would just be a house guest or visitor).

The standard notice period for a lodger is usually a month - particularly if rent is paid monthly. However, unlike with an AST, this isn't a hard and fast rule - the notice can be less if agreed, or rent is paid weekly, or the lodger's behaviour is so unreasonable that the live in landlord couldn't be expected to tolerate it (in which case, it's a good idea to record evidence). I believe you will find that most solicitors, including housing law specialist Giles Peaker, would advise that a month's notice is best, unless one of the situations I've set above apply. Google "lodger notice periods".

Once the live in landlord has moved out, however, the lodger would have no right to remain without the head landlord's permission.

Mark Alexander

18:27 PM, 10th March 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mandy Thomson" at "10/03/2015 - 17:43":

Hi Mandy

I agree with all that you have said, moral of the story, make sure lodger moves out before the tenant.
.

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