Property visits can protect landlords and agents from illegal subletting

Regular property visits can help to protect letting agents and their landlords from the growing risk of subletting scams, inventory services provider No Letting Go has warned.

No Letting Go said there has been a rise in the number of subletting scams in recent months, particularly when it comes to fraudsters using short-term lets platforms to rent out their landlord’s properties without permission.

Nick Lyons, chief executive and founder of No Letting Go, said: “The growth of the short-term lets market heightens the risk of unlawful subletting as the available technology makes it easy for tenants to let properties quickly and easily without the knowledge of landlords and letting agents.

“If you don’t put the right steps in place, subletting could be taking place in your rental property for a long period before you are able to take any action.”

One example, which featured on BBC One’s Inside Out programme, saw a managing agent discover a family being checked into a rental property by the existing tenants.

Further research uncovered a long-running subletting scam with over 70 reviews of the property left on Airbnb over the course of the tenancy.

The tenants were eventually evicted but not before they had cost the landlord a significant amount of stress and money in repairing property damage.

When tenants sublet No Letting Go warned that there is a heightened risk of property damage and abnormal levels of wear and tear, while illegal subletting could invalidate a landlord’s insurance policy.

Subletting can also breach licensing schemes and a number of health and safety regulations.

Lyons added: “Regular property visits and inspections can help to identify the tell-tale signs of subletting such as additional rubbish and the presence of people not named on the tenancy agreement.

“By scheduling regular visits, you will discourage tenants from subletting and in the event that they are carrying out unlawful activity, you can bring a stop to it as soon as possible.”

“Professional inventories and carrying out the check-out process properly can also offer additional protection.”

“If tenants have been subletting a property, the presence of an inventory can provide the required evidence for landlords to recoup some of the property damage and maintenance costs from the tenant’s security deposit.”