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How can I find out if my tenant is subletting?

March 28, 2018

It is not uncommon to hear of tenants subletting their rental property – either a bedroom to make extra money or the whole property for more rent than they are paying.

This can cause you, the landlord with big problems.  You will not know who is residing in the property and your property could suffer a lot of wear and tear should it be over accommodated.

A lot of landlords aren’t bothered about who is living in the property as long as the rent is being paid.  After all, it will be the tenant that signed the tenancy agreement that will be held responsible for any damaged caused.  However, there are other problems that you need to consider.

Overcrowding of the property can create health and safety issues and possibly excessive noise.  Also by not knowing who is living in the property, they will not have been vetted or referenced and therefore may not be suitable or legal to live in the property.

How can you tell if your property is being sublet?  Look out for the following indicators:

REFUSING ACCESS – Tenants may refuse to give you access for routine inspections or maintenance issues i.e. gas safety inspections.

OVERCROWDING – A good indicator of too many people living in the property is lots of coats or shoes in the hallway or bedrooms.

SLEEPING ARRANGEMENTS – Keep an eye out for any additional beds, or even blow-up mattresses, in bedrooms and reception rooms.

PERSONAL BELONGINGS – There might be lots of bedding hidden in cupboards, wardrobes or even under furniture. Look in the bathroom(s) and see how many toothbrushes are there, are there more than the number of people named on the tenancy agreement.

WEAR AND TEAR – Look for signs of excess wear and tear throughout the property, particularly in the kitchen and bathroom(s).

COMPLAINTS – If you receive a lot of complaints from neighbours for lots of people and cars.

The best way to find this evidence is to carry out regular property inspections.  Write to your tenants giving them 72 hours’ notice to carry out an inspection, if they refuse access, then you should start to become suspicious.

Book the inspection for first thing in the morning i.e. 9:00 am and turn up early and wait outside to see if there is any unusual activity, you might even see several people leaving that might not tally up with the number of tenants on the tenancy agreement.

If regular inspections are not carried out and complaints are not made, then you will never know if your property has been sublet.

Our full management service includes regular periodic inspections so you will never have to worry about your property being sublet.  Give us a call on 01243 252984 and find out how we can help you.

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