Government Sub-letting Plans to Take a Back Seat

Written by RLA

At a meeting with the RLA, Housing Minster, Brandon Lewis MP, confirmed that proposals to make it easier for tenants to sub-let, announced in the first Budget of the year, will take a back seat…

At a meeting with the RLA, Housing Minster, Brandon Lewis MP, confirmed that proposals to make it easier for tenants to sub-let, announced in the first Budget of the year, will take a back seat.

The Minister outlined a timetable for a number of proposals affecting the PRS during the meeting, indicating the promised sub-letting consultation will not now come forward until the next session of Parliament – May 2016 at the earliest.

This provides landlords with some respite from concerns about being unaware of who is living in their property.

RLA Chairman Alan Ward wrote to the DCLG voicing concerns over sub-letting proposals when they were first proposed.

The RLA told the minister that landlords need clarity and that there were simply too many unanswered questions raised by the proposals.   You can read the letter here in full.

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The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) represents the interests of landlords in the private rented sector (PRS) across England and Wales. With over 23,000 subscribing members, and an additional 16,000 registered guests who engage regularly with the association, we are the leading voice of private landlords. Combined, they manage almost half a million properties.


  • If tenants are allowed to Sub let, how would a landlord know who was living at the property to satisfy the proposed immigration checks, ie right to rent? How could a landlord satisfy the stringent conditions of Selective Licensing, where the landlord may not even have met the sub tenant, including mandatory referencing etc. How would a landlord be able to pursue rent arrears should the original tenant collect rent from a sub tenant, and then not pay his own rent to the landlord? How would a landlord be able to evict a sub tenant if no tenancy agreement exists? How could a landlord properly insure the property, where a tenants status, ie working professional or benefits assisted, is not known.This is required on all landlord insurance policies and if incorrect could render the policy useless, and put at risk assets of the landlord.

    There are many other situations where subletting of properties would expose the landlord to all sorts of logistical and financial dangers, and clearly has not been thought through.
    What benefits are there to be had by even considering subletting? If a tenant needs to vacate a property then following the prescribed procedure in the existing tenancy agreement, or by mutual agreement with the landlord, should allow the tenant to vacate and a new ,properly referenced tenant, of the landlords choice, may be sought..

  • Further to the above. If a tenant is allowed to sublet, in a Selective licensed area, then surely he also must obtain a license, as it is an offence to let the property without being the holder of a selective license. Licensing authorities would be obliged to prosecute, and take control of the property?
    i feel that the whole concept of subletting is completely unnecessary, and if approved would only seek to alienate prospective new landlords from entering the business, and force existing landlords to consider their position in retaining their properties, in that they would be unnecessarily exposed to risks and liabilities ,of which they would have little or no control.

  • That is a brilliant letter! It really made me laugh. It shows the absurdity and stupidity of what the Government is churning out in its anti-landlord, sucking up to Shelter policies.

  • I think subletting is a stupid idea. First off, it is my property not theirs so who are they to rent it out for me (via subletting)
    2- With the introduction of the Landlord cert (which I hear is going soon), we are required to list and name the tenants, not possible if we don’t know who they are
    3- Multiple occupancy – requires a license. My tenant sub-letted a 2 bedroom flat to 10 people and I did not know. I found out when I went to re-mortgage my flat and the surveyors picked it up – he then declined the mortgage as it was a multiple occupancy household and did not have a license. My agent had rented my flat ONE GUY.
    4- how do we manage wear and tear, deposits and HEALTH AND SAFETY, who would be liable for damage?

    On a side note….
    I am really feed up of stupid laws passed just because there are ‘some’ bad landlords. What about BAD TENANTS WHO WRECK HOMES????

  • if tenant cannot afford the flat or house, they should go and rent a room . Apart from the obvious risk for the landlord and property, that tenant risks someone they pluck out of the small ads not paying rent or stealing /damaging property.

    I’ve had a bath left running by someone a tenant had living in the flat, so our downstairs tenant was flooded in one room.
    Of course everyone thinks the landlord should be insured against this, which I am , but of course my premium goes up, and it’s difficult to move insurers if you’ve made a claim.
    If I accidentally damaged my tenant’s car whilst pushing a metal wheelie bin onto it, would they happily just make an insurance claim ?????????? or would they ask me to pay for the damages on cash basis. Or if I damaged their computer while moving furniture in, I am sure I know what expectations there would be

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