Finding out a tenant has sub-let a room in your buy to let to a lodger is worrying for some landlords.
The new occupier is an unknown and comes with fears of breaking right to rent laws, the implications of losing control of the tenancy and if they are a suitable person to have in the home.
If the tenant has taken in a lodger without telling you, the options are limited:
- Go with the flow and hope for the best
- Start eviction proceedings
But if the tenant looks after the property and pays the rent on time, eviction might not be in your best financial interests.
As the tenant becomes the lodger’s landlord, it’s up to them to carry out the right to rent check and the lodger cannot assume any rights of a tenant without consent while they live in the home with the tenant.
Your tenancy agreement should have a clause prohibiting all sub-letting or assignment of the tenancy in whole or part without the prior written consent of the landlord (as the Guild tenancy does). Often the landlord will be required to give consent if the request is reasonable although mostly, it will be perfectly acceptable for a landlord to reject a request. With such a clause, the landlord is free to accept or reject the tenants request for a lodger and can attach conditions to the consent if necessary. We have a template available for consenting to a temporary guest although it can be tweaked to allow a longer term lodger if necessary.
Of course, some landlords consider allowing tenants to take in lodgers ethical and it allows people who cannot otherwise afford a home to find somewhere affordable to live and makes better use of wasted bedroom space.
As a general rule, our preferred way of dealing with a request for a longer term lodger (as opposed to a temporary guest) is to check out the new incoming occupiers references and create a new tenancy with the new tenant added. This makes the occupier a tenant instead of a lodger but that way their status is clear and if one of the tenants leave, leaving the other in the property, possession is generally simpler.