By Judith Loeffler

Budget 2015

 

The Budget Red Book released after the Chancellor makes his Budget speech includes the government’s commitment 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’.

There is widespread confusion about the implications this would have – many of the relevant points summarised in a letter the RLA Chairman, Alan Ward sent to the Director General of the Department for Communities and Local Government following the publication. Alan Ward commented: ‘The measures on sub-letting are a nightmare in the making and smack of ‘back of the fag packet’ policy making.’

Amongst others, the key questions to be considered are

  • who will be responsible if a sub-tenant is in breach of general landlord tenant legislation
  • would the tenant who sublets a property have landlord like responsibilities towards the sub-tenant eg Gas Safety notices, immigration checks etc
  • what if an additional sub-tenant turns the property into a House of Multiple Occupation when more than 3 unrelated (sub-)tenants reside there
  • how would a landlord regain possession with no tenancy agreement in place

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