Study shows a third of UK tenants sublet properties

Letting agents and landlords will need to ensure they are being vigilant in property inspections and enforcing the rules with their tenants, after a new survey revealed that as many as a third of all PRS tenants are now subletting properties. 

Subletting is generally against the rules for tenants, and it can cause problems for landlords by making their landlords insurance void or breaking the terms of their buy-to-let mortgages. However, despite the problems it can cause, and the fact that most tenancies state explicitly that subletting is not permitted, PropertyLetByUs’ survey discovered that three in ten are already subletting, and four in ten plan to do so in the future. 

Another 52 per cent of those surveyed said they would like to sublet with the permission of their landlord, while a staggering 78 per cent believe that they should be able to sublet wherever they want without the permission of the property owner. 

When those who do sublet were asked why they choose to do so, 96 per cent said that there had been short periods where they sublet to help a family member in need, while 82 per cent said they needed the money to be able to afford their rent. 

Jane Morris, managing director of PropertyLetByUs, said this attitude from many tenants shows just how important it is for landlords to ensure they are carrying out checks. 

“It is imperative that landlords make regular checks on the property to check for additional occupants. Many tenants will try to hide the fact they are subletting, so the warning signs can be excessive rubbish and accelerated wear and tear,” she said. 

“When there is multiple occupancy in a property, wear and tear and damage is dramatically accelerated. There can be increased mould and condensation with more occupants. Landlords can also face expensive repairs for damage and redecoration costs, to bring the property up to the standard it was at check-in,” Ms Morris added. 

Landlord Action said that subletting is a problem that is only getting worse in the modern world of PRS letting, largely thanks to sites like Airbnb, and the fact tenants see this as an easy way to make a little bit extra from their property by letting someone stay there for a short period while they are not home. 

The organisation added that this is increasingly becoming a problem, and is one of the main drivers behind subletting becoming one of the most common reasons for evictions in the PRS.

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