Tenant eviction experts Landlord Action has expressed grave concerns over Government plans to allow private tenants to sub-let.
As Landlord Today reported earlier this week, Budget small print included a clause about subletting under the title “support for the sharing economy”.
It said the government will: “make it easier for individuals to sub-let a room through its intention to legislate to prevent the use of clauses in private fixed-term residential tenancy agreements that expressly rule out sub-letting or otherwise sharing space on a short-term basis, and consider extending this prohibition to statutory periodic tenancies.”
Paul Shamplina, founder of Landlord Action, said: “This appears to have slipped in under the radar which, if it goes ahead, will throw up a magnitude of problems in the buy-to-let industry.
“We have never seen so many sub-letting cases going to court because of unscrupulous tenants trying to cream a profit from a property they have rented.
“We experience continual problems with tenants taking out tenancy agreements and then, in some instances, not even moving into the property themselves, but putting up partitions and sub-letting to as many people as possible. They draw up separate agreements and trick sub-tenants into thinking they are the landlord. By the time landlords find out, damage to properties from over-crowding can run into thousands, and the tenant who holds the legitimate tenancy agreement is nowhere to be found.
“The detail is yet to be revealed but, in my opinion, there should have been a period of consultation with the industry before this was announced. This is not the way to fix the housing shortage, and in fact will have quite the opposite effect if more and more landlords are exposed to the risk of nightmare sub-tenants. Giving landlords even less control over their own property by preventing them from instilling clauses which prevent sub-letting could drive more good landlords out of the marketplace.”
Landlord Action is currently exposing the level of the sub-letting problem in a Channel 5 documentary due to air in a few months.