Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

There's No Room for Sublets in My Flats; the Accidental landlordVictoria Whitlock Explores What Impact New Subletting Rules Might Have on Those Who Rent Properties

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

There's No Room for Sublets in My Flats; the Accidental landlordVictoria Whitlock Explores What Impact New Subletting Rules Might Have on Those Who Rent Properties

Article excerpt

Byline: Victoria Whitlock

LAST month's Budget might have passed you by in a blur, but buried in there was a statement that will strike fear into the hearts of all landlords -- it's going to be illegal for us to include a blanket ban on subletting in tenancy agreements.

It's not clear yet whether we'll still be able to insist that tenants ask our permission to sublet or whether they'll be given the freedom to let rooms or even entire properties willy-nilly.

But what the Government has said is that it will outlaw clauses that "expressly rule out subletting or otherwise sharing space on a short-term basis".

Initially, this will apply to fixed-term tenancies, but it is also considering extending this to statutory periodic tenancies, so, in theory, all tenants will be able to sublet, even those who are just renting on a month-bymonth basis.

The Government said: "This will ensure that landlords always have to consider tenants' requests reasonably."

Well, yes, landlords should consider tenants' requests reasonably, and personally I don't have a problem if a tenant renting a one-bedroom flat wants their partner to move in or if tenants want to sublet a flat for a week or two while they're on holiday, but I hope the Government isn't suggesting tenants will be given carte blanche to sublet to anyone at any time. If so, we're all in trouble.

My tenants often try to sneak in extra sharers -- usually boyfriends or girlfriends -- into my flat, turning it from a property designed for four tenants into a mini youth hostel, and I don't think I'm unreasonable for promptly booting them out.

Sure, I don't want the extra wear and tear on my property, that's certainly true, but I'm more concerned about overcrowding and the effect this will have on the health and safety of my tenants. This property has only one bathroom and one loo, which isn't enough for more than four people. Also, there's only one exit door so if, God forbid, there was a fire and the property was crammed full, I would worry they'd never all get out alive. …

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