Thinking of subletting?

Thinking of subletting? Here's everything you need to know.

If you are subletting your flat or if you are proposing to do so, please read these guidance notes carefully. It is important that you fully understand your legal obligations under your lease and also that you make sure that your sub-tenants are familiar with the flat and its equipment.

These are only general notes which are not intended to be comprehensive. You should refer to your specific lease, any specific regulations relating to your Estate, and take advice from your solicitor and letting agent in relation to all statutory requirements in relation both to letting generally and any Health and Safety issues.

The advice and guidance herein is only of a general nature and is given on the basis that we accept no legal liability for such advice and guidance. We retain the right to alter or amend these Notes at any time without notice.

  1. Legal Obligations

You are liable under your lease to comply with all of the various obligations there under, such as keeping property in good repair and complying with all of the regulations of the lease.

If you sub-let your flat, you will continue to be liable for the actions of your sub-tenants. So if your tenants behave unreasonably, any action will be taken against you. In order to minimise such risks we recommend that;

  • You are very careful about taking up references for any potential sub-tenants.
  • You spend some time acquainting your sub-tenants with all of the facts contained herein.
  • If a complaint about your sub-tenants is received you take immediate action to investigate and resolve same.
  1. Before Sub-Letting
  • Check if you are permitted to do so under your lease and any conditions relating thereto. The majority of leases do not permit sub-letting of part only of the flat.
  • You should not let your flat if there are any forfeiture proceedings against you.
  • If you have a mortgage, you will probably be required to seek permission from your mortgagor to sub-let.
  • If lease requires the Landlord’s permission to sub-let, make sure you apply for such permission in good time. We will need to see details of the form of sub-letting and at least two references for your proposed tenants. Such permission is needed for each sub-letting.
  • Please note that many leases only allow occupation for residential purposes by a single family. If such a condition is in your lease you may not let for multiple occupation. Equally the flat may not be used for any commercial purposes. Short term service lettings by the day or week are regarded as carrying on a business and not residential occupation.
  • You should make sure that you have fire safety and electrical certificates in place and that the flat and any contents comply with all current Fire and Safety Regulations.
  • Where you are using a letting agent, make sure that they have a copy of these guidance notes. You must ensure that they do not affix or post any signs to the flat or the building.
  1. Upon Sub-Letting
  • You must let us know when you have sub-let. Nearly all leases require you to advise the Landlord of any sub-letting. In doing so we require;
  • An address where we can communicate with you and send bills etc.
  • A contact telephone number where you can be reached in an emergency.
  • If you are going to be living abroad, it is a statutory requirement that you give us an address in the UK where documents can be served upon you. We will also need details of your letting agent to contact in an emergency.
  1. The Flat

Please make sure that your tenants are familiar with the flat and its operations and in particular;

  • Location of fuse boxes and meters.
  • Main water/gas inlet valve so that water/gas can be turned off in an emergency.
  • Door entry system.
  • Internal Fire and /or smoke alarms.

Ensure that your tenants do not overload the electricity supply to your flat.

Ask your tenants to refrain from using exposed candles.

  1. Health and Safety
  • Please ensure that you familiarise your tenants with what to do in the event of a fire. Make sure that they know the escape route from the flat and where to congregate outside. They may not use any lift.
  • If there is no emergency lighting system in your block of flats, ensure that a heavy duty torch with a fresh battery is stored close to any exit.
  • Instructions as to action in the event of a fire should be prominently displayed in the flat.
  • Advise your tenants that they may not store combustible materials in the flat or on the Estate.
  • Request your tenants that, in the event that they are away from the property for more than a few days, they ensure that all gas and water is turned off at the main inlet valve.
  1. Emergencies

Make sure that your tenants know who to contact in the event of an emergency, preferably with a 24 hour telephone number. (Do not give our number as we have no responsibility for your internal demises).

  1. Block and Estate Security

Please make sure that your tenants understand that they must ensure that they do not allow anyone into the Block or onto the Estate, except those that are there with their permission. Where there is an Entryphone or electric gate system, they must not “buzz anyone in” without firstly identifying the visitor as one that they are expecting. They must not allow access to anyone who claims to be visiting another flat.

They must keep keys and entry codes secure. If keys to the Block are lost or mislaid they must report such loss to us so that the locks can be changed. The costs will fall to your account, and you will no doubt recover from the tenants from the security deposit.

You must emphasise that all fire doors must be kept closed at all times.

  1. Regulations

Many blocks of Flats have specific regulations relating to the occupation of the Block. If such regulations are in effect at your Block please ensure that your tenants have a copy.

  1. Moving In

Frequently we have cases of tenants damaging paintwork when they are moving in and for instance carrying furniture up the stairs. You need to make it clear to your tenants that if they have bulky items that could potentially cause damage, they must take protective measures to avoid any such damage.

You will be charged for any restorative work needed as a result of actions by your tenants.

  1. Keep Common Parts Clear

Please make it clear to your tenants that they may not store items in the common areas or stairway. Items such as bikes and pushchairs must be taken into the flat or stored in an area specifically designated for same.

No responsibility is accepted on our part for any financial loss as a result of our having to arrange the removal and disposal of any items being stored in the communal areas.

  1. Smoking

Smoking is NOT permitted in any of the enclosed common areas. Can you kindly emphasise this to your tenants.

Smoking outside may not take place within 15 feet of any other flat.

  1. Satellite Dishes and Signs

Please advise your tenants that no satellite dishes or signage of any kind may be placed on any patio, balcony or the exterior of the building.

  1. Laundry

Please ensure that your tenants are aware that NO laundry may be placed to dry on the outside of the building or any patio or balcony where it is visible.

Some blocks of flats have specific drying facilities. If this applies to your block please ensure that your tenants are made aware of the location of such facilities.

  1. Parking Spaces

If you have a demised space, please make sure that your sub-tenants know which space it is. They may not park in someone else’s space.

Visitor’s Parking spaces are only for genuine visitors to the Estate. You must make it clear to any sub-tenants that they make not use the visitor’s spaces to park their motor vehicles.

If they have two cars and you only have one demised space you must make it clear to the sub-tenants that they will have to park one of their vehicles off the Estate.

  1. Parking Restrictions

Most leases only permit parking by private vehicles in a roadworthy condition. You should make it clear to your tenants that they cannot park commercial vehicles on the Estate or any vehicles that do not have a current road fund licence.

Any demised space is for parking only. Repairs to vehicles may not be carried out in any demised space.

Where there is a parking scheme on the Estate, you must make sure that your tenants are provided with a parking card or disc and explain to them the consequences of parking without such card or disc being prominently displayed.

No petrol or oil may be stored in the flat, any garage or any of the common areas.

  1. Rubbish

Please make it clear to your tenants that rubbish must not be left in the common parts but normal household rubbish must be disposed of in the containers provided. Where there is a recycling programme, your tenants must comply with same.

It is the responsibility of your tenants to dispose of non-household rubbish; this may mean a trip to the nearest tip or paying a licensed firm to remove it. Non household rubbish must not be left in the common parts.

If it is necessary for us to remove rubbish that has been left by your tenants we will bill you for any costs involved.

There is an absolute prohibition on burning any waste or rubbish on the premises or in any of the common parts.

  1. Noise and Nuisance

Your lease will contain restrictions on noise and a general restriction on any form of nuisance that may affect other lessees and occupiers of the other flats.

Please make sure that you ensure that your tenants are advised that they should have consideration to other occupiers and in particular should keep noise down, avoid having any TV turned up to a high volume and in particular not to play music late at night.

Most leases require floors to be kept carpeted. In such cases you must make it clear to your tenants that the flat MUST be carpeted at all times.

  1. Use of Garden

Where there is a shared garden, it is intended to be for the benefit of all occupiers to share and enjoy. In order to do so, consideration needs to be given to the quiet enjoyment by all occupiers. Please make sure that your tenants are familiar with their rights to use the garden and any restrictions applying thereto. Generally there will be;

  • A restriction on ball games.
  • A restriction on playing radios or any other musical instruments.
  • A restriction on cooking any food in the shared garden
  • A restriction on any individual bonfires
  • A restriction on pets except on a leash.
  • A prohibition on allowing pets to foul any part of the garden.

Your tenants should not interfere with the garden or seek to take any part of the garden for their exclusive use.

  1. Pets

Your lease may contain a restriction on pets, if this is the case please make sure that you do not let to any tenants that are going to bring pets onto the estate in breach of the lease.

Even where pets are permitted, please ensure that your tenants are aware that such pets must be kept under control, must be on a leash when in the common parts and must not be allowed to foul any of the common parts including the gardens.

Pets do need exercise and you must make sure that where tenants are bringing pets into the flat, there are arrangements for exercise throughout the day. Dogs that are howling whilst their owners are out at work are a major nuisance to other occupiers.

Under no circumstances may any pets be allowed to roam in the common hallways and shared gardens.

  1. Alterations

Your lease will probably contain a prohibition on carrying out any alterations to the flat. Please make sure that your tenants are aware of this.

  1. Under Letting

We frequently come across cases where a flat is sub-let and then the tenants subsequently invite others to share or let off rooms. This will be a breach of your lease as well as probably being in breach of any tenancy arrangement that you may have with them. You should make it clear that such actions are forbidden.

  1. Commercial Use

Except for live/work units, you should make it clear to your tenants that they may not undertake any trade or business from the flat.

  1. Damage to Flat

There is a requirement to keep your flat in good repair. You must make it clear to your tenants that they must keep the flat in good repair and in the event that any damage is caused, arrangements must be made forthwith to repair.

  1. Damage to other flats

If your tenants behave so as to cause damage to another flat(s) or any common parts you may be liable for any costs. This could typically arise from allowing a bath or sink to overflow with water flooding the flat below, or commonly damaging the front door lock because they forgot their key.

  1. Insurance

Nothing must be done that may affect the insurance on the building. In particular

You must ensure that the flat is let in accordance with the terms of the lease. If the Insurer has been told that the Estate consists of flats solely let to single families for residential purposes and it later transpires that a flat is being use for multiple occupation or commercial purposes, the Insurer may refuse to meet a claim or may insist on a higher premium. Such costs will then fall to your account.

You need to ensure that your tenants do not do anything that might give rise to a claim or an increase in the Block premium. So, for instance, ensure that there is no overload of electricity, any minor water leaks are dealt with immediately, there are no sources of naked flame in the flat and all furnishing materials are flame retardant.

  1. Inspection by Landlord

Nearly all leases grant the Landlord power to enter the flat, usually on reasonable notice but without notices in cases of an emergency. You should advise your tenants of this and make sure that they allow access to the landlord when requested.

  1. General

It is important to appreciate that it is the Lessee of the flat who remains responsible for any actions of his tenants. We suggest;

  • That either you or any letting agent carry out inspections (unannounced) on a regular basis to ensure that your tenants are complying with the terms of their tenancy and of your lease.
  • That you ensure that you obtain an adequate damage deposit.
  • That you consider one of the “Landlord” insurance policies that are now available.

These guidance notes are in a general form and may not apply to each particular circumstance. Please take advice in respect of your obligations under your lease from your solicitor and letting agent when sub-letting.