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View Full Version : Tenant has sublet and run off with the rent!



poggledawg
02-06-2007, 20:30 PM
Hi - first post here!

My husband has just been up to a flat we rent out to try to negotiate the payment of some rent which is 2 months in arrears, before going to court.

He found that our tenant was no longer there and that he has been letting it out to a couple and their children for months! He apparantly has pocketed the last two months rent that they have paid him! It seems like he's been charging them more and creaming off the top!

Now we know what's going on, I think we'll sign them up with an AST, if they want to stay, rather than evict them - they seem nice enough. I think they've been done up like a couple of kippers as well as the tenant told them that he owned it! The sub-lessee was fuming!

Any thoughts?

Paragon
02-06-2007, 20:37 PM
At least report it to the Fraud squad.

Andyman
02-06-2007, 21:01 PM
Yes I would get a crime number from the Police for that. You said they've been done, but you have also. Don't forget to do credit checks on the new couple, you only have their word that they have been paying the other chappy the money. How do you know?

Colincbayley
03-06-2007, 11:33 AM
I would track down the original tenant and then pop round and see him, Not forgetting to take a large vice and club hammer!

( Please note, I said I would, I would never suggest that anyone else should follow this advice )

poggledawg
03-06-2007, 13:37 PM
Thanks for your replies.

The one thing I was concerned about is if I do get the people in there to sign a new AST, should I do anything to terminate the previous tenant's rights first?

MDM
03-06-2007, 13:52 PM
I think it's potentially quite messy.

Did the original tenant's AST explicitly prohibit subletting (without your written consent, such consent not to be unreasonably withheld) ? If it did then the sublessees agreement should not need terminating since it shouldnt have been valid in the first place.

However, more significantly, has the original tenant's agreement been terminated ? He's acted appallingly, probably illegally, but that only gives you the right to go for a section 8 possession order. I doubt that you can count subletting as "surrendering" the tenancy. Until the situation with the original tenant is resolved I don't think you can sign up the new tenants to an AST.

It is very messy and, at the risk of a sounding like a cop out, get some legal advice. Do you belong to a landlord's association (e.g. rla) ? You could get access to professional advice that way.

poggledawg
03-06-2007, 14:44 PM
Hi - yes there was a clause specifically prohibiting subletting. However it could be defective as it prohibited subletting and assignment and didn't include the "landlord's consent not to be unreasonably withheld."

So I might go for section 8 on non-payment grounds plus a few ancillary ones. I'll issue a section 21 too as we're passed the fixed period.

If we assume that the sublet clause is ineffective, then presumably the occupants may have a tenancy? However it's not them I'm worried about so much as the middle man.

I need to terminate his rights without putting these others on the street.

I think it's probably a well thought out scam - I don't think that the guy ever lived there at all. The original tenant was a Lithuanian guy, with good english. The tenants are also Lithuanian and have next to no english (which complicates negotiations). I think that the original tenant may be taking advantage of them, particularly because they are naive to the workings of the system in the UK and will find it difficult to get information due to the language barrier.

I'm wondering if it's worth trying to get the guy to agree to end his tenancy by agreement, thus freeing up the tenants to enter into an AST with me. The stick being, if he doesnt agree, I'll evict the tenants and terminate his interest anyway.

MDM
03-06-2007, 17:11 PM
Your agreement may not necessarily be defective - they don't all have that particular form of words. But if this is the well thought out scam you suspect, then the situation is potentially very tricky. There may be other posters who have had experience of this kind of situation, but I definitely don't.

I could say that a section 21 at this stage is quicker, than a section 8 because it is less open to challenge/doesn't involve the courts - but it still takes a minimum of two months.

But basically I still think you need professional advice on this one - but I found a link that might cover your situation - see what you think.

http://england.shelter.org.uk/advice/advice-3133.cfm

it seems to deal with illegal and legal subletting and how they are handled when the original tenancy ends.

poggledawg
03-06-2007, 17:27 PM
That's a great link - thank you very much for finding that for me. I think I'll probably get some specialist advice tomorrow and terminate the original tenancy.

It's rough on the couple in there, but they'll have to trust that I'll give them a tenancy if their refs check out, once I've dealt with the original tenant.