Tenants who sublet are known as 'mesne tenants' and act as the landlord to the subtenant. Mesne tenants need to perform right to rent checks on the subtenant, organise the rent collection and any repairs they might reasonably request.
They are also subject to the same eviction procedures as landlords so will have to follow the same legal process to evict a subtenant if they break any of the conditions outlined in their tenancy agreement. Remember, rent arrears or any damage caused by the subtenant is ultimately the mesne tenant’s responsibility.
Is subletting illegal?
If you sublet without the permission of the landlord then yes, you would be illegally subletting. This gives the landlord the power to evict you and the subtenant from the property.
If you occupy social housing and illegally sublet then the consequences are much more serious and can lead to a heavy fine on top of an eviction. Always get permission to sublet to avoid any issues, whilst landlords have the right to refuse they must give a valid reason.
Why would a landlord prohibit subletting?
The (head) landlord is the property owner and the person who the mesne tenant rents the property from. Subletting can become a problem for landlords as they have less control over who is renting their property.
The property could become an illegal house in multiple occupation (HMO) if the tenant sublets to too many people. The majority of properties which have three or more tenants require a HMO license from the council. Respect your landlord’s decision if they refuse your request to sublet.
Choose the right subtenant
Without experience in chasing payments and eviction, you will want to avoid those situations so it's often best to choose a subtenant who you know personally. If you are choosing a stranger, be sure to get to know them to help ensure they will be a good fit for your lifestyle. Be picky to avoid future problems, you will be living with them at the end of the day.
End of subtenancy
When the mesne tenant’s contract ends the subtenancy will usually end as well. If the subtenant wishes to remain in the property, they should approach the head landlord (who owns the property) and ask if they will create a new tenancy for them.
Are you Propertymark Protected?
ARLA Propertymark Protected letting agents can answer any questions you have and offer advice about how to manage a subletting situation. Our members voluntarily choose to become regulated by Propertymark to showcase their commitment to higher standards. Use our search to find a letting agent in your area.