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Landlords’ body voice concerns over sub-letting

The Residential Landlords’ Association wants greater clarity about potential changes to rules regarding sub-letting in the private rented sector.

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rla_alan_wardThe Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has expressed concern over controversial plans to allow private tenants to sub-let their tenancies in England, announced by the Chancellor in the Budget last month.

The Chairman of the RLA, Alan Ward (left), has written to DCLG Director General, Peter Schofield, seeking greater clarification over the detail of the proposals and has raised various questions as to how this would affect landlords with leases, licensing, and mortgage conditions, and why it is that this proposal has been put forward with no consultation.

You can read Alan Ward’s letter in full below.

Last month, tenant eviction firm, Landlord Action, also expressed grave concern over Government plans to allow private tenants to sub-let from their tenancies, claiming that it would be “catastrophic” for the rental market.

paul_shamplina_landlord_act“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,” said Paul Shamplina (right), Founder of Landlord Action.

“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,” he added.

Shamplina believes that “the risk of nightmare sub-tenants” and subsequently “less control over their own property” could potentially lead to a mass exodus of landlords from the private rented sector.

 

Alan Ward letter in full:

Peter Schofield
Director General (Neighbourhoods)
Department for Communities and Local Government
2 Marsham Street
London
SW1P 4DF

Dear Mr Schofield

You will be aware that the Budget Red Book contained a number of proposals to make it easier for tenants in private rented accommodation to sub-let the homes they rent.

As the voice for private sector landlords, we were concerned that this policy seems to have been formed without any consultation with key partner organisations.

In light of this, and given the difficulties that the policy is likely to pose for landlords, I should be grateful for responses on the following points:

 

  1.  Can you confirm that the provisions on sub-letting will only be taken forward if the next Government decides to do so and that these proposals are not set in stone?
  2. Why was there no consultation with the industry prior to these proposals being announced? 
  3. Would the proposal apply to Wales?
  4. Will tenancy agreements have to allow sub-letting or would it be a case of sub-letting being allowed only with the landlord’s permission? I refer to para 2.235 and would like to know what would be deemed reasonable?
  5. Would tenants who sublet be considered to be the landlord for the purposes of tenancy deposits, serving relevant paperwork (gas safety certificate, EPC, S21) and immigration checks?
  6. Would subletting tenants be responsible for Housing Health and Safety Rating System, and maintenance of the property in the portion of the property they sublet?
  7. How would such legislation interact with local licensing – would a tenant who sublets also require a licence? Who will be responsible for breaches? Would a reasonable cause to refuse a sub-let come under selective licensing? 
  8. Who will be held responsible for general landlord breaches by the sub-letting tenant?
  9. What happens when the tenant who sublets absconds, leaving behind the sub-tenant? Could the landlord regain possession of the house, even if they don’t have a contract with the sub-tenant themselves? What rights to occupy would the sub-tenant have?
  10. Will this also apply where a tenant moves in a partner, rather than renting out a room? Can leases still forbid this or require landlord permission/change of tenancy? What happens if the original tenant leaves and the partner stays?
  11. Would a landlord renting out a property that is subsequently sub-let then find that the property is classified as a House of Multiple Occupation? 
  12. What happens about so-called rent-to-renters? How would a landlord regain possession of their property if they don’t have a tenancy agreement or even know the names of the sub-tenant?
  13. What is meant by “short term” let?
  14. Who takes responsibility for any anti-social behaviour carried out by a sub-tenant?
  15. Would tenants who sub-let be subject to provisions within the Deregulation Bill on retaliatory evictions? 
  16. Will the Government be consulting on the proposals? If so, what is the likely timeframe?
  17. What is the difference between the sub-tenant and a lodger?


In light of our concerns, I should be grateful for an opportunity to meet with you or your colleagues to discuss these proposals as a matter of urgency and would be grateful if your office could email [email protected] to arrange a discussion.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Alan Ward
Chairman

HOT TOPIC This story is being discussed in the forum nowThe Negotiator says:

This important issue could be an election loser or winner –

Have your say

You may disagree, so follow the link to our forum discussion and make yourself heard.

April 14, 2015