Are you aware of how your tenants are acting?
20 November 2015 1950 Views
Landlords should make sure they are regularly checking their property to ensure tenants are not subletting without permission.
Staying on top of every property that you manage and every tenant you deal with as a letting agent can be a very difficult ask, with many agents having to manage hundreds of homes and deal with a high number of issues at one time.
However, as a new report has shown, it is vital that letting agents are aware of everything that is happening with all of their properties in order to make sure tenants are not breaching the terms of their tenancy agreement.
So just how well do you know your tenants and how well are they sticking to the agreements you made?
According to findings in a survey from the National Landlords Association (NLA), there are some letting agents who are potentially falling behind, and their tenants are taking advantage by subletting part or all of their property without permission.
This is a serious breach of a tenancy agreement that can lead to eviction in some cases, but it often goes undetected if letting agents are not carrying out regular checks to make sure they know what's going on in the properties they manage.
According to the NLA, as many as 11 per cent of all tenants in the UK sublet all or part of the property they rent from a landlord or letting agency.
However, of those who said this, just five per cent said they had the permission of their landlord to rent out the property to someone else, which means many people nationwide are breaching the terms of their agreement.
There are many problems that come from subletting for agents and owners. For one thing, it greatly reduces the earning potential they have if tenants are illegally renting, while there's also the fact that tenants are making money off their landlord's property if they are subletting without permission, and it can cause the landlord to be in breach of their mortgage, which can lead to real legal problems.
"These findings indicate that subletting is not common in private rented homes, but worryingly that where it does happen, much of it takes place behind landlords’ backs, without their knowledge or permission," said Carolyn Uphill, chairman of the NLA.
"This isn’t something apparently harmless, like putting your flat on AirBnB while you are on holiday. We are talking about individuals looking to deceive their landlord and maximise their personal gains at the expense of proper property management standards and the risk of others. It not only increases the cost of renting for the unwitting sub-tenants, it affects their rights and can reduce security of tenure."
So how do letting agents mitigate against the risk of tenants subletting without permission? In short, it's all about making sure that regular property inspections are carried out. These can help to show any signs that someone other than the agreed parties is living in the property, which can help to stamp out the problem before it gets worse.
Of course, keeping track of inspections at a range of different properties is not an easy ask. For this reason, having effective property management software can help letting agents to stay on top of things. Diaries and trackers can help agents keep note of which properties they have inspected already, as well as notifying them when the time comes for the next inspection, keeping them on top of checks and making it easier to spot any illegal subletting.
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