Becoming a landlord has its rewards, but it can also have major pitfalls, such as tenant subletting, that can cost you thousands and potentially destroy your property.
Although the majority seek permission from the property owner, there are some who are out to scam landlords by renting a property then illegally letting it out to others, usually for an enormous profit.
These characters see buy to let landlords as fair game, as they are perceived as not being as invested in the property as it was never their home, although obviously, this is untrue.
Never hearing from a tenant subletting your home
Being contacted by a tenant for repairs or other issues with the property can fill a landlord with dread in case the problem is expensive, but a tenant never contacting their landlord at all is also suspicious.
During the course of most tenancies, the tenant will have to report something at least once, but if your tenant has been in the property a while and you’ve heard nothing, this could mean they aren’t actually living there and your property is being illegally sublet.
Make sure you keep in touch with your tenant and check in with them if you haven’t heard anything for a while, so as to prevent this from happening.
We recommend that as a minimum, a landlord should visit the property every 3 months and carry out a property inspection. This is a good opportunity for both the landlord and the tenant – the landlord gets to inspect the general state of the property and the tenant has an opportunity to highlight any potential issues.
Tenants renting a property that is bigger than they need
Consider first the size of your property and your tenant’s needs. If your tenant is a single person but is renting your four bedroom house, this could be a sign of tenant subletting.
Often tenants who plan to illegally sublet will take on large properties and charge per room so as to make a tidy profit.
A tenant subletting usually offers more rent than you’re asking for
If a tenant wants to pay the deposit and a few months’ rent in advance, this could mean that either they do not have tenant references, which will be flagged up in the credit checks anyway, or the tenant has received an amount of cash from others who have paid to rent the house or a room in it.
Of course, some tenants are just happier paying in advance, but it’s always worth keeping an eye out if this does happen, as it can be a red flag to indicate the property is being sublet.
Ensure your tenancy agreement has a ‘sublet’ clause
I understand that simply having a clause in the agreement will not stop a scammer tenant from subletting, however, without it, it would be more difficult to evict the tenant on the grounds of breaching the contract.
As a part of our Gold and Platinum packages, we take care of the tenancy agreement and as standard, a no-subletting clause is written as follows:
‘Not to assign, sublet, part with possession of the Property, or let any other person live at the Property’
If you would like to discuss how we can assist you with your next tenancy, please contact us on 0333 577 8888.