It's a scenario most private landlords will face. You let your property to a single person and they move someone else in. The new arrival is usually a partner. Very often the tenant won't even inform you they've done this. But what do you do if you discover another person in your property? Should you do anything? Where do you stand legally and what are the implications of your tenant moving someone else into your property?
The first thing you need to establish is whether you can actually do anything. This depends on your tenancy agreement . It should name the tenant. But also state it’s a single tenancy agreement and that no other person(s) can live in the property. If this is the case your tenant has broken the terms of your agreement and you can choose to start eviction action.
But if the tenancy agreement is ambiguous or worse doesn't address who is able to live there you can't really do anything. You’re pretty much stuck with the situation. Though you can of course try to evict anyway. But you would need a strong argument to prove your case.
If you’re worried your current agreement may not be up to scratch contact our specialist team. However, let’s assume your tenancy agreement is thorough and covers all the bases.
Whether your tenant tells you directly or you find out by other means should you be concerned about the extra person in your property? In a word, yes. As we mentioned above its likely your tenant has broken the tenancy agreement. But it goes beyond that.
As part of your due diligence before renting out your property you referenced your tenant . You satisfied yourself on their character and credit worthiness. But you don't know this new person. Without being overly dramatic they could be anyone. Certainly, someone you wouldn't want in your rental if you had a choice. There’s also a possibility your tenant could be sub-letting. Another likely breach of the tenancy agreement.
It's an interesting point. Your current tenant may be excellent. They always pay the rent on time and keep the property spotless. The new person moving in doesn’t change things and you still receive your rent on time. Why should you be worried? Why not just leave things as they are and at the end of the fixed term draft a new tenancy agreement which names both individuals?
It would seem a valid argument. But the presence of a person not named on the tenancy agreement could cause issues with your landlords’ insurance should you need to make a claim. The insurance company could well argue negligence on your part. They could refuse your claim. Of course, there may not be an issue and everything carries on as normal. But is it worth the risk? When you're dealing with a valuable asset such as a property, I'd suggest the more risk averse you are the better.
Before doing anything else speak to your tenant. Explain they are breaking their tenancy agreement. But also explain your legal position. Make it clear that at the end of the day the tenant simply cannot simply install someone else into your property. If the tenant refuses to listen you may have no option but to evict.
A new tenancy agreement naming both parties is another cause of action you could consider. This would of course need both yourself and your tenant to surrender the original agreement. But your tenant may be reluctant to do this. They would be giving up the security of a single tenancy for a partner in a new relationship. In this case you’re back to square one and must insist the new person moves out immediately.
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