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to be thinking of taking a lodger without telling my landlord?

79 replies

MilaV · 24/04/2011 20:53

I know it sounds awful, but they're this huge agency and it was a nightmare to get the flat in the first place. Lots of checks and references needed... I don't know what they'll do if I tell them that XP and I have separated and he's moving out, and that I need to rent a room (otherwise I won't be able to pay the rent). Anyone has been in the same situation, or got a bit of advice? I'd like to be clear and up front, but I fear they will refuse and even ask to end our tenancy agreement. :(

OP posts:
mumblechum1 · 24/04/2011 20:58

I wouldn't , if I were you. All agencies do "lots of checks and references". If you lose this tenancy because you've breached the terms you'll find it a lot harder to get the next one because you won't get a good reference from your current landlord.

Do you have childrenwith your ex? If so you should obviously be getting child mtce from your XP.

Could you increase your hours at work to cover the extra costs?

I think you should ask if you may get a lodger in, but if they refuse, accept their decision. They would then have no grounds to evict you (unless you breach the agreement in some other way, of course)

EvenLessNarkyPuffin · 24/04/2011 21:03

The contract was signed by you and your ex and is in your names? If you sub let - rent a room - and don't tell them, you have broken the terms of your tennancy and can be chucked out. Talk to them.

Gemsy83 · 24/04/2011 21:07

You can't sublet

MilaV · 24/04/2011 21:08

Yes, the contract is in both our names. I am getting child maintenance from XP already and working from home, part time, but I would still need the extra income. So yes, the most logical thing seems to ask the landlord, as long as they can't end the tenancy because now I am on my own...

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HalfPastWine · 24/04/2011 21:09

As others have said you are breaking the terms of your agreement. Having said that, I have a friend who's been doing it for years. Depends how much contact you have with the landlord or letting agent as to whether or not you'll get away with it.

beesimo · 24/04/2011 21:09

Be upfront about this with your landlord, they will have requests like yours all the time as sadly couples do part If you have been a good tenant it will be in their best interests to continue your tenancy. They may even check your tenants refs for you.

Honesty is always the best policy keep straight with them.

MilaV · 24/04/2011 21:13

The thing is, when we moved in (only three months ago), they asked to see how much XP earned, and how much I was earning too... what if they refuse to let me rent a room and decide I can't afford the flat on my own? Could they end the tenancy agreement?

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beesimo · 24/04/2011 21:14

One thing you need to take into cosideration is that this country is full of sneaks and spiteful jealous people who just love to report others -see all the 'grassing up' threads on MN. I have no doubt you'd be tattled on especially if your in a nice area down south.

RevoltingPeasant · 24/04/2011 21:15

Personally, I wouldn't do this - recently my rather cheeky neighbour asked to rent my garage from me to store some stuff in. I said no partially because it would breach the terms of my tenancy (and also cos I didn't want him nosing round at all hours).

BUT you probably could manage to get away with this if your neighbours are decent/ oblivious and if your LL/ agency always announces inspections sufficiently far in advance. I know I could do this, were I so minded: they do inspections once every 2-3 mos and give us about 3 weeks' notice, so it'd be easy enough to 'tidy' away the stuff in the 'spare' bedroom. Or, if your lodger were another woman, just pretend the stuff was yours. Other than that, I don't see how they'd know there was anyone else there unless they watched the house or a neighbour complained.

I wouldn't, but if you reckon you can get away with it....

PS - they'll probably refuse the application to add a subletting tenant to the agreement, as most LLs want to vet people properly and are quite conservative IME (my last LL asked if we were married, e.g.! Shock).

beesimo · 24/04/2011 21:15

consideration even

EricNorthmansMistress · 24/04/2011 21:15

I wouldn't, as long as they don't come round more than 6 monthly and your neighbours aren't busybodies. The letting agency may agree but insist on them going on the tenancy, which means they will have as much right as you to stay and if you don't like them you may have to move out.

interestingchaos · 24/04/2011 21:16

It's pretty common for people to sub let around here, I have done it before with an agency that also made a lot of checks, and used to regularly inspect the property.
The fact that I was sub letting never came up, but I was always a bit worried that they could terminate the tenancy agreement because of it.
I would do the same again, however if you are particularly worried then get the lodger to join you on the tenancy agreement - there will probably be a huge admin fee but maybe worth the peace of mind?

HalfPastWine · 24/04/2011 21:16

beesimo good point. OP, if you are brave enough to chance it then keep your mouth shut and don't tell a soul otherwise as Beesimo says, someone could drop you well and truly in it.

CharlieCoCo · 24/04/2011 21:18

id be honest with them. if you ask to get a lodger they will see you are doing what you can to get the rent paid and i wouldnt of thought they would object. however if you get one behind their back they will see you as a bad tenent and could chuck you out and u will get a bad reference. they might even help you vet (?) a new lodger and find one that they know is able to afford the rent. if you arent allowed one then you will have to move and find a more affordable place but least you will still have the security of having a home, if yiu got a lodger sneakily you will always be on edge.

MilaV · 24/04/2011 21:21

Oh no, I couldn't live like that, really, I'd be paranoid all day... what if I explain them my situation and see what they suggest? I just hope they can't kick me as long as I continue to pay (from savings)

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masterblaster · 24/04/2011 21:23

Don't think they can end the ta just for you not having xp move out. I am a ll and our tenants asked to move in a two lodgers. She is lovely and really looks after the house, but we did increase her rent to take into account the increased risk (we used to rent at well below Market price because we knew her well).

You really shouldn't do this, because you might accidentally create a situation where the new tenant has rights to stay in the house, above those that YOU have with the landlord - and for which you would be liable if there is no proper tenancy agreement in place.

Speak to the landlord first. It is their decision, not the agency, at the end of the day. They would probably prefer to continue the lease, because getting new tenants is an equal hassle for the landlord, and at least if you are there and haven't wreked the place, they know that there will be someone sensible looking after it.

HairyBeaver · 24/04/2011 21:25

Would you not be entitled to housing benifit/CTC etc?

MilaV · 24/04/2011 21:30

@HairyBeaver Unfortunately no, I am working, hence I only qualify for child benefit and working tax credit, I think, although it would be great to get some kind of advice on that too... I tried booking an appointment with a lone parent advisor at my jobcentre, but they wanted to give me all the information on the phone, and mainly, that's what they said :/

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mouseanon · 24/04/2011 21:36

Please don't. Tenants have rights and if you have a lodger they have rights too. That is rights that you would have given them over a property that isn't yours. You could end up with someone awful who refuses to move out and put your landlord in a very difficult position which is hardly fair if they had no say in it. It's not your landlord's fault that your circumstances have changed and you can't afford to live there anymore. Not all landlords are evil you know (although sometimes I do wonder about the agents). Some of us are actually quite nice. If I had a good tenant in your position who had found someone else to move in that would be fine, but I would want the agency to do all the normal vetting and checks on the new tenant and have a proper agreement in place. I wouldn't really want it to be a subletting arrangement. We did refuse someone a similar request once but that was because they'd already trashed the property and we wanted them out (brand new house after 6 months needed completely redecorating and carpets replaced due to cigarette burns in them).

You might just be better off finding somewhere cheaper.

hairylights · 24/04/2011 21:40

Your ex will still have to pay rent if he's on the tenancy agreement, surely?

MilaV · 24/04/2011 21:41

Once thing is subletting, and another thing, renting a room. There are different rights/obligations. This website explains it quite well:

Anyway, if it's contract infringement and could be quite serious, I won't be doing it. I just asked because in my homeland people are quite relaxed with these things, and wanted to know your opinion.

Moving somewhere cheaper is easier said than done. I fear I might lose the deposit and get bad references if I leave the flat before the 12 month contract expires. :/

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MilaV · 24/04/2011 21:42

Yes hairylights, but I think I prefer to chew off a peeled wire (don't know if that makes any sense in English) rather than to continue living with him. And he can't afford paying for two places.

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nijinsky · 24/04/2011 21:59

I really wouldn't do this. You will be in breach of your tenancy agreement and your landlord could take it the wrong way. I know if it was one of my flats, I'd ask you to leave as I'd see it as dishonest, and I might also, if I was really inconvenienced, sue you for damages as well.

The lodger you get in could be anyone, with no credit checks done. What would happen if things went wrong and lodger didn't pay the rent? Or wrecked the place? You currently have a joint tenancy with your ex, what you are proposing is a different thing altogether. The landlord might well not want the rooms let seperately to unrelated people as he might not want to chase two different people for the rent.

As a landlord, I'm used to sizing up potential tenants and checking their references and credit ratings and avoiding the bad ones - I wouldn't want someone who didn't have that sort of experience picking my tenants for me.

Just ask permission and if it isn't forthcoming, give notice and find somewhere else.

EricNorthmansMistress · 24/04/2011 22:15

You cannot leave before your tenancy is up. However, if you intend to leave when your tenancy is up then you could easily sublet without telling anyone. Lodgers have no rights to speak of, you can give 72 hours notice then have them removed if they refuse to leave. That is why would not put a lodger on the tenancy agreement, as they would then have the right to stay just as much as you did.

nijinsky · 24/04/2011 22:18

Hmmn EricNorthmansMistress that in Scotland, a tenancy agreement is delectus personnae, dependent on the identity of the parties to the contract. I appreciate in England it might be different but IMHO it would still be in breach of many a tenancy agreement as you would be allowing a person to live in the property without the landlord's authorisation. What if they turned out to be a squatter and refused to move out?

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