We are seeing more and more illegal sub-letting, particularly in the emerging market space. People who might not have the affordability are seemingly going through a middleman to secure a home to rent.
The sub-letting can be dangerous, but there are three rules you can follow as a homeowner to keep yourself safe.
1. Know What’s Going On
It is very important that a homeowner trusts his or her instincts, or gut feel. Generally, you will get a sense that something has shifted. Remember you are able to notify your tenants that you will be popping into the premises if you suspect anything has shifted. You are also perfectly within your rights to check in telephonically with your tenants at any time.
2. Select an agent to assist
Having a rental agent not only puts a homeowner in a better position in terms of dealing with tenants – but if any sub-letting is going on, a managing rental agent will step in and sort things out on a home owner’s behalf. An agent is also able to vet your tenants – they can access data showing if someone is applying for rentals elsewhere, how frequently, etc. A managing rental agent is also entirely involved in the inspection between tenants, which helps to address any maintenance issues, and would also flag whether someone else is living there. An inspection is done annually even if a tenant stays on for another lease term. It’s important to have all your checks and balances in a row, all the time.
3. Set boundaries if you’re going to do it
If you are wanting to do sub-letting or are open to your tenants doing so – perhaps to secure the rent – it is mandatory that the person who is currently renting your home, and therefore sub-letting, lets you know who the occupants are going to be. Any criteria or rules should be shared with all occupants, and it would be wise to get copies of their IDs and personal information.
If the property is a strata title unit, the homeowner must disclose to the joint management body (JMB) and its managing agents, what the names and ID numbers are of all occupants. This is a requirement for the security of the building, as well for the serving of information relevant to the block.
Important to remember as well is that any notices that need to be served on the tenant could potentially be served on the occupants too. So, the occupants take on responsibility as the tenants, even if they do not take on liability in for the rent.
Tenants also need to realise that in terms of a lease agreement, it is their responsibility to let the relevant people (homeowner and managing rental agent, if applicable) know if things are changing in any way at the property.
Failing to do so is considered illegal and the homeowner will be able to take action. The homeowner could legally evict all the occupants at the same time.