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A survey carried out by a major insurer claims that there are over 3 million people living in sub-let rooms,(nearly in 1 in 10 rented homes) unbeknown to landlords and letting agents. They carried out the research through residential lettings agencies reporting back to them saying that when they had carried out checks, that almost half of residential rental properties had unofficial multiple occupants.
It was also reported that there is an increasing trend of sub-letters who have been unofficially living in properties for well over six months. The most common practice was of couples living in single rooms within a house and one example was citied of a house that many families lived in, had a single tenant listed in the Tenancy agreement.
Average rents in England and Wales has risen by 0.7 % in August to £743 just £10 short of the record high in October of last year (London is now approximately £1,126). The increase is the major reason why more and more illegal sub-lets are fast becoming the norm.
The National Insurers figures shows that London is obviously experiencing the worst of this trend as four years ago rents were cheaper by £250 and that people between 18 and 34 made up half of the 3 million total of “illegal” sub-letters.
Obviously in the case of multiple occupancy by families living under a sole tenancy agreement, there were serious health and safety issues caused by the cramped conditions and greater risk of a high amount of damage that could be incurred by the property. This would also be in serious breach of housing regulations.
Earlier in the year it was uncovered that up to 1,000 immigrants could have been living in secret in just one street in Hounslow in “shanty” sheds in gardens.
There is no real way of policing this as landlords must be issued with notices twenty four hours by any council prior to an inspection taking place. In theory it gives some less than reputable landlords time to “clear out their sheds”.
Home ownership in England and Wales has decreased in the last ten years to 64%, figures issued by the Office of National Statistics from the ten-year census. (2001-2012).
Insurance policies for landlords and buildings cover become null and void if people are found living in the properties and are not listed in the tenancy agreement.
The Business Manager of the insurer, said: ‘Lettings agents have seen significant damage caused to properties where people were crammed into a home while not listed on the lease.
‘In one property we heard of, shelving had been removed from a cupboard under the stairs to create a makeshift bedroom.
‘Landlords can reduce the financial risks associated with renting out properties by taking out insurance to cover against risks such as accidental damage. However, this cover could be invalidated if there are occupants who are not listed on the tenancy agreement.'
Lettings agencies reported that as many as 9 out of 10 landlords on their books did nothing about changing the locks between tenancies, even when the correct numbers of keys were not handed in. Nowadays so many tenants are taking it upon themselves to cut multiple sets of keys for families or partners which of course can lead to security breaches of the properties.
A City Wide Licensing Scheme for Landlords
Immigration Act revised 2016 should a landlord or letting agent fail to ensure ALL tenants/occupiers have a righto reside for the duration of the tenancy then they may be fined £3000 for each breach. The Secretary of State may instruct the landlord to remove such persons without the need of a court order by way of reasonable force
Labour market enforcement - restriction on illegal migrants to work. A labour market enforcement undertaking (an “LME undertaking”) is an undertaking by the person giving it (the “subject”) to comply with any prohibitions, restrictions and requirements set out in the undertaking