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So agents and landlords CAN stop tenants sub-letting

The government says letting agents and landlords can, after all, prevent tenants sub-letting properties, despite apparently saying the reverse in a statement immediately after the Budget earlier this month. On page 51 of the Budget Red Book – the document which is released after the Chancellor makes his Budget speech – the government committed to “make it easier for individuals to sub-let a room through its intention to legislate to prevent the use of clauses in private fixed-term residential tenancy agreements that expressly rule out sub-letting or otherwise sharing space on a short-term basis, and consider extending this prohibition to statutory periodic tenancies.”

However, now Brandon Lewis – currently housing minister – has given further clarification to The Guardian newspaper, which in fact appears to contradict this. His ‘clarification’ says: “Tenants should be able to ask for permission to sublet their home without expecting a blanket refusal in every case – but landlords should also have the right to know who is living in their property. Our proposals would mean a tenant could ask for this permission under the model tenancy agreement, with landlords having the right of refusal offering reasons for that decision and within a reasonable time frame.”

A string of organisations including the Residential Landlords Association and the B&B Association have expressed dismay at the original government proposal.

Paul Shamplina, founder of Landlord Action, says if this policy goes ahead it will thrown up a magnitude of problems in the buy-to-let industry.

“We have never seen so many sub-letting cases going to court because of unscrupulous tenants trying to cream a profit from a property they have rented. We experience continual problems with tenants taking out tenancy agreements and then, in some instances, not even moving into the property themselves, but putting up partitions and sub-letting to as many people as possible” says Shamplina.

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