Can I sublet my flat? How to avoid a breach of lease

Ian Hollins, Director at Clear Building Management sets out key considerations if you wish to sublet your leasehold property.

If you are a leaseholder considering renting out your apartment, you need to understand if you can do this, without breaching the terms of your lease. Clear Building Management set out key considerations if you wish to sublet your leasehold property.

As with almost everything leasehold-related, your first step in letting out your property is to check the wording of your lease.

Does it contain any restrictive covenants stopping you from renting it out?

If it does, and you wish to breach such a covenant, you will need to consult the landlord and obtain written permission to do so.

If there is no mention of subletting, then you are free to bring in tenants as you wish, whether by renting out a single room or letting out the whole property.

Other leases will be more specific about what forms of letting are permitted. For example, it might say you may not sublet part of your property, or specifically restrict you to letting to a “single family unit”.

Essentially, to avoid breaching your lease, you need to be sure what is and isn’t allowed, and this is especially important if you are buying a property with the sole aim to rent it out. We have had clients buy a flat to let out and then realise the lease won’t permit them to do so. Talk to your conveyancing solicitor and tell them what you plan to use the flat for.

In our experience, most landlords will permit subletting, but they will charge a fee – this can be anywhere from £100 to £300, and the landlord may reserve the right to charge an admin fee every time you have a new tenant.

Note also that when you rent out your flat, the tenancy agreement is between you (the leaseholder) and the tenant. The lease remains an agreement between you and the landlord. This means that you remain legally responsible for complying with all the covenants in the lease – and making sure your tenant(s) also understand and comply with them.

So, for example, if your tenant is causing a nuisance then you as the leaseholder could potentially face forfeiture.

Our advice at Clear is to include all covenants and obligations within the tenancy agreement so you can take any necessary action against your tenant to prevent a breach of your lease – and protect your valuable leasehold investment.

For a clearer and transparent approach to managing your building, talk to Clear Building Management. We’d be pleased to help you understand your options.

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