Sub-letting on the up as tenants struggle to make ends meet

Photo: Images_of_Money

Sub-letting is on the up in the UK, as new research reveals that tenants are increasingly struggling to make ends meet.

The study by Direct Line for Business found that one in six (17 per cent) tenants in the UK admit to having rented out part or all of their property to someone who isn’t on the lease agreement.

One in six renters say they are thinking about sub-letting part or all of their rented property. This is partly due to the increased ability to do so, as a result of online portals such as Airbnb, but also to help offset living expenses.

“The average monthly rent across the UK currently stands at £7392,” explains Nick Breton, Head of Direct Line for Business. “This means on average, approximately a third of people’s income goes towards accommodation. With the market having seen a 5 per cent increase in average rents in the last year, it seems that a larger number of renters are tempted to offset this expense by sub-letting their properties.”

The consequences when landlords catch tenants sub-letting can be severe, from losing a deposit to increased rental charges or a fine. Nonetheless, a quarter of tenants who sub-let their property didn’t check the terms of their lease to see if it was permitted, while over a third had not informed their landlord of the decision.

Of the sub-letters who did not inform their landlord, a fifth (23 per cent) got found out in the end anyway. Indeed, over the last two years, Landlord Action have seen an 18 per cent increase in the number of instructions from landlords with sub-letting cases.

Paul Shamplina, Founder of Landlord Action, comments: “Sub-letting is fast becoming one of the leading grounds for eviction, alongside rent arrears and Section 21 for possession only. This has been fuelled by sky high rents preventing some tenants from being able to afford even single-unit accommodation, forcing many to resort to bedsits or shared accommodation.”

“Organised sub-letting scams are also becoming more prevalent, where tenants, or sometimes even fake tenants, advertise properties and rooms on holiday/accommodation websites in order to cream a profit without the landlords’ consent,” Shamplina adds.