Sub Letting – What not to do…

01 Jul 2016

We often get asked about sub letting by tenants – if its OK and if not, why not? At the same time, landlords ask about how they can protect against it… An agents take…

From a tenants point of view, it’s understandable some tenants think about sub letting.. The tenant thinks “OK so I can sign a lease on a 2 bed property at £800 and then I can find a friend / other person to move into the second bedroom and split the rent with me” The problem is that sub letting a room can lead to big problems.

Reasons to Avoid Sub Letting your Rental Property

Most leases that a tenants will sign in Scotland is Short Assured Tenancy (SAT) and that means that the lease holder(s) are joint and severally liable for the lease , that means the rent and the property. Sub letting a room under a SAT agreement is almost always contrary to the terms of the agreement so if you sub let a room, you are likely to get in some trouble with your landlord and your agent. Sub letting is when you are charging someone rent, not if you have a friend/relative staying with you although in most agreements if you are having someone stay with you for any length of time you should be advising your landlord.

So why don’t landlords like sub letting?

It’s a problem for landlords because they can have someone living in their property who has not been credit checked or referenced , they know nothing about the person living there so it makes serving notice very difficult should there be any rent problems or issues with them contravening the normal term s of a tenancy agreement.

Lets take an example, James and Sophie (a couple) are living in a property, they do all references as usual and sign a SAT for a 2 bedroom property. 6 Months into the tenancy they decide that they aren’t using the 2nd bedroom and they might like to earn some extra funds so they get in a 3rd tenant called Mark who they charge £350 per month. They don’t let their agent know.

Mark moves into the flat, he seems nice but James and Sophie know nothing about him really apart from that “he’s a friend of a friend”. 2 months down the line, Mark turns out to be a pain, he’s messy and never tidies up and they all fall out. James and Sophie ask him to move out, he says no and makes real mess of the property but finally he leaves. James and Sophie decide that they can’t afford the rent and upon check out, they end up being charged for the damage in the room. Its more than their deposit, the landlord is very angry and James and Sophie are affected by poor credit now. Mark is unaffected.

From a landlords point of view imagine the above, which is bad, but then imagine Mark doesn’t even move out. James and Sophie leave but they have this person staying in the flat who has no lease. If he won’t go the landlord may even have to go to court although this is unlikely.

So the bottom line is, don’t sublet. Check with your landlord first. Most landlords will allow you to amend the lease to move in a suitable other person.