Guidance When Sub-Letting a Flat

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1 Guidance When Sub-Letting a Flat If you are sub-letting your flat or if you are thinking of doing so, please read this Guidance Note carefully. It is important that you fully understand your legal obligations and also that you make sure that your sub-tenant is familiar with the property and its equipment. Some of this guidance will seem very restrictive, however, you must appreciate that Remus, as agents will only enforce those matters that the Freeholder or a Residents Management Company wish us to enforce. Most do demand quite strict compliance with your lease. This is general guidance which is not intended to be comprehensive. You should refer to your specific lease any specific regulations relating to your Estate. We would also recommend that you take advice from your Solicitor and Letting Agent in relation to all statutory requirements both in relation to letting generally and Health, Safety and Fire issues. This guidance is given on the basis that we accept no legal liability for such guidance. We retain the right to alter or amend these Notes at any time without notice. 1. Legal Obligations You are liable, in accordance with your lease, to comply with all of the various obligations included in it. This will usually include obligations to keep the property in good repair and complying with all of the regulations in the lease. If you sub-let your flat, you will be liable for the actions of your sub-tenants. So if your tenants behave unreasonably or break any of the regulations in the lease, action will be taken against you (not them). In order to minimise the risk of such actions being taken against you we recommend that:- You are very careful about taking up references for any potential sub-tenants before letting your property to them. You spend some time acquainting your sub-tenants with all of the facts contained in this guidance that are relevant to your property. If a complaint about your sub-tenants is received you take immediate action to investigate and resolve the matter before it is escalated into a costly action against yourself (such action may be brought by other residents, the freeholder or a residents management company and you may well be liable for their legal costs). 2. Before Sub-Letting Check if you are permitted to sub-let in your lease, if in doubt ask Remus, your freeholder or your solicitor. If you are allowed to sub-let check what conditions the lease makes in relation to who and how you can sub-let the property (some leases restrict the sub-tenants to a single

2 family or exclude letting to students, the majority of leases do not permit sub-letting of part only of the flat). You may let your flat if there are any forfeiture proceedings against you until such time as these proceedings have been resolved. If you have a mortgage, you will probably be required to seek permission from your mortgagor to sub-let unless to have a Buy-to-Let mortgage. If your lease requires the Freeholder s/residents Management Company s permission to sublet, make sure you apply for such permission in good time. Most Freeholders/ Residents Management Company s delegate this responsibility to Remus but require us to see details of the form of sub-letting and at least two references for your proposed tenants. Such permission is usually needed for each sub-letting. Please note that many leases only allow occupation for residential purposes by a single family (as mentioned above). If such a condition is in your lease you may not let for multiple occupation. Equally the flat may not be used for any commercial purposes. Short term service lettings by the day or week are regarded as carrying on a business and not residential occupation. You should make sure that your property is compliant with all fire safety legislation and you have current electrical and gas certificates in place and that the flat and any contents comply with all current Fire and other safety regulations. Particular attention should be paid to Front doors being compliant with Fire regulations and smoke/fire detection being present inside the flat. Where you are using a letting agent, make sure that they have a copy of these guidance notes. Leases practically never allow them to affix or post any signs to/at the property. It is your responsibility to ensure that they do not do this. If they do, you may be asked to pay for the removal of the signs should we be instructed to remove them (we have standing instructions from some Freeholders/Residents Management Companies to remove these as soon as we are aware they have been put up). 3. Upon Sub-Letting You must normally let us know when you have sub-let. Nearly all leases require you to advise the Freeholder/Residents Management Company (and/or their agent) of any sub-letting. In doing so we require: An address where we can communicate with you and send bills etc. A contact telephone number where you can be reached in an emergency (along with an address if you have one). If you are going to be living abroad, it is a statutory requirement that you give us an address in the UK where documents van be served upon you. We will also need details of your letting agent to contact in an emergency.

3 4. The Flat Please make sure that your tenants are familiar with your flat and its operation. In particular:- Location of fuse boxes and meters Main water/gas inlet valve so that water/gas can be turned off in an emergency Door entry system Internal Fire and /or smoke alarms Action to take in the event of a fire, both within the flat and also within the common parts of the flat. Failure to do so may leave you liable for any death or injury that occurs within the property Request that your tenants do not overload the electricity supply to your flat Request that your tenants to do not use exposed candles. 5. Health and Safety Please ensure that you familiarise your tenants with what to do in the event of a fire. Make sure that they know the escape route (and the procedure if the escape route is blocked) from your flat and where to congregate outside. They must be aware they may not use any lift. If there is no emergency lighting system in your block of flats, please ensure that a heavy duty torch with a fresh battery is stored close to any exit. Instructions as to action in the event of a fire should be prominently displayed in your flat. Advise your tenants that they may not store combustible materials in your flat or on the Estate. Request your tenants, in the event that they are away from the property for more than a few days, ensure that all gas and water is turned off at the main inlet valve. 6. Emergencies Make sure that your tenants know who to contact in the event of an emergency, preferably with a 24 hour telephone number. Please do not give them our number or our out of hours number. We have no responsibility for your internal demises and usually have no ability to help them, in addition calls to our out of hours number which do not relate to the common parts may incur excess charges which may be recharged to yourselves. 7. Block and Estate Security Please make sure that your tenants understand that they must ensure that they do not allow anyone into the Block or onto the Estate, except those that are there with their permission. Where there is an entry-phone or electric gate system, they must not buzz-in anyone without firstly identifying the visitor as one that they are expecting. They must not allow access to anyone who claims to be visiting another flat.

4 They must keep keys and entry codes secure. If keys to the Block are lost or mislaid they must report such loss to us so that the locks can be changed. The costs of such changes will fall to your account which you will no doubt recover from your tenants security deposit. You must emphasise that all fire doors must be kept closed at all times. 8. Regulations Many blocks of Flats have specific regulations relating to the occupation of the Block. If such regulations are in effect at your Block please ensure that your tenants have a copy of these regulations. 9. Moving In Frequently we have sub-tenants damaging the paintwork when they are moving in and out, often as a result of carrying furniture to and from the property. You need to make it clear to your tenants that if they have bulky items that could potentially cause damage, they must take protective measures to avoid any such damage. You will be charged for any restorative work needed as a result of actions by your tenants. As such you should ask your agent to check for damage to the common parts as well as your property before releasing any security deposit. 10. Keep Common Parts Clear Please make it clear to your tenants that they may not store items in the common areas or stairway. Items such as bikes and pushchairs must be taken into the flat or stored in an area specifically designated for them. No responsibility is accepted on our part for any financial loss as a result of us arranging the removal and disposal of items being stored in the communal areas. 11. Smoking Smoking is NOT permitted in any of the enclosed common areas. This is a legal requirement that you should emphasise to your tenants. Smoking outside the building must not cause inconvenience to any other residents. Usually a distance of 15 feet from of any other flat or the communal entrance will be a sufficient distance to ensure this.

5 12. Satellite Dishes and Signs It is a usual requirement of a lease that no satellite dishes or signage of any kind may be placed on any patio, balcony or the exterior of the building. Please ensure your tenants are aware of this and comply, you will be responsible for any costs incurred in removing such items and your tenants may also be very irritated if they have their satellite dish removed hours before the big game/movie 13. Laundry It is a usual requirement of a lease that no laundry may be placed to dry on the outside of the building or any patio or balcony where it is visible. Please check your lease on this point and if it is not allowed please ensure your sub-tenants are aware of the requirement. Some blocks of flats have specific drying facilities. If this applies to your block please ensure that your tenants are made aware of the location of such facilities. 14. Parking Spaces If you have a demised space, please make sure that your sub-tenants know which space it is. They may not park in someone else s space. Visitor s Parking spaces are only for genuine visitors to the Estate. You must make it clear to any sub-tenants that they may not use the visitor s spaces to park their motor vehicles. If they have two cars and you only have one demised space you should make it clear to the sub-tenants that they will have to park one of their vehicles off the Estate. 15. Parking Restrictions Most leases only permit parking by private vehicles in a roadworthy condition. If this is the case with your lease you should make it clear to your tenants that they cannot park commercial vehicles on the Estate or any vehicles that do not have a current road fund licence. A demised space is usually restricted to parking only. Repairs to vehicles may not usually be carried out in a demised space where this is the case you should ensure your tenants are aware of it. Where there is a parking scheme on the Estate, you must make sure that your tenants are provided with a parking card or disc and explain to them the consequences of parking without such card or disc being prominently displayed. No petrol or oil may be stored in the flat, any garage or any of the common areas.

6 16. Rubbish Please make it clear to your tenants that rubbish must not be left in the common parts and normal household rubbish must be disposed of in the containers provided. Where there is a recycling programme, your tenants must be inform of it and should comply with it. It is the responsibility of your tenants to dispose of non-household rubbish. This may mean a trip to the nearest tip or paying a licensed firm to remove it. Non household rubbish must not be left in the common parts. If it is necessary for us to remove rubbish that has been left by your tenants we will pass any costs incurred on to you for you to recover from your tenants or their security deposit. There is an absolute prohibition on burning any waste or rubbish at all premises or in any of the common parts. 17. Noise and Nuisance Your lease will almost certainly contain restrictions on noise and a general restriction on any form of nuisance that may affect other lessees and occupiers of the other flats. You must, therefore ensure that your tenants are advised that they must have consideration to other residents and in particular should keep noise down, avoid having the TV volume up and not to play music late at night. Most leases require floors to be kept carpeted. If this is the case in your lease you must ensure your floors are suitably covered before sub-letting the property and make it clear to your tenants that the flat must remain carpeted at all times. 18. Use of Garden Where there is a shared garden, it is intended to be for the benefit of all residents to share and enjoy. In order to do so, consideration needs to be given to the quiet enjoyment by all residents. Please make sure that your tenants are familiar with their rights to use the garden and any restrictions applying thereto. Generally there will be: A restriction on ball games. A restriction on playing radios or any other musical instruments above talking volume. A restriction on cooking any food in the shared garden A restriction on any individual bonfires A restriction on pets except on a leash. A prohibition on allowing pets to foul any part of the garden. In addition your tenants should not interfere with the garden or seek to take any part of the garden for their exclusive use.

7 19. Pets Your lease may contain a restriction on pets, if this is the case please make sure that you do not let to any tenants that are going to bring pets onto the estate or into your flat in breach of the lease. Where pets are permitted, please ensure that your tenants are aware that such pets must be kept under control, must be on a leash when in the common parts and must not be allowed to foul any of the common parts including the gardens. Some pets need exercise and you must make sure that where tenants are bringing pets into the flat, there are arrangements for exercise throughout the day. Dogs that are howling whilst their owners are out at work are a major nuisance to other residents. Under no circumstances may any pets be allowed to roam in the common hallways and shared gardens. 20. Alterations Your lease will probably contain a prohibition on carrying out any alterations to the flat. Please make sure that your tenants are aware of this. 21. Sub-Under Letting It is common to come across the situation where a flat is sub-let and then the tenants subsequently invite others to share or let rooms. This may well be a breach of your lease as well as probably being in breach of any tenancy arrangement that you may have with them. If this is in breach of your lease you should make it clear that such actions are forbidden. 22. Commercial Use Except for live/work units, you should make it clear to your tenants that they may not undertake any trade or business from the flat. 23. Damage to Flat There is usually a requirement to keep your flat in good repair. You should therefore make it clear to your tenants that they must keep the flat in good repair and in the event that any damage is caused, arrangements must be made forthwith to repair it. 24. Damage to other flats If your tenants behave so as to cause damage to another flat(s) or any common parts you will be liable for any costs of fixing the damage. This could typically arise from allowing a bath or

8 sink to overflow with water flooding the flat below, damaging the front door lock because they forgot their key or as mentioned above moving in or out. 25. Insurance Nothing must be done that may affect the insurance on the building. In particular You must ensure that the flat is let in accordance with the terms of the lease. If the Insurer has been told that the Estate consists of flats solely let to single families for residential purposes and it later transpires that a flat is being use for multiple occupation or commercial purposes, the Insurer may refuse to meet a claim or may insist on a higher premium. Such costs would potentially fall to your account. You need to ensure that your tenants do not do anything that might give rise to a claim or an increase in the Block premium. So, for instance, ensure that there is no overloading of electricity, minor water leaks are dealt with immediately, there are no sources of naked flame in the flat and all furnishing materials are flame retardant. Your tenants must do nothing to invalidate the insurance, including for instance leaving fire doors open, smoking in the common parts, starting fires in the garden or block and committing arson for example. 26. Inspection by Freeholder/Residents Management Company Nearly all leases grant the Freeholder and the Residents Management Company power to enter the flat, usually on reasonable notice but without notices in cases of an emergency. You should advise your tenants of this and make sure that they allow access to the Freeholder and the Residents Management Company when requested. 27. General It is important to appreciate that it is you as the Lessee of the flat who remains responsible for any actions of you tenants. We therefore suggest: That either you or your letting agent carry out inspections (unannounced) on a regular basis to ensure that your tenants are complying with the terms of their tenancy and of your lease. That you ensure that you obtain an adequate damage deposit. That you consider taking a Landlord s insurance policy (that are now available and often include landlord s contents insurance) in relation to your flat. These Guidance Notes are in a general form and may not apply to your particular circumstance. Please take advice in respect of your obligations under your lease from your Solicitor and Letting Agent when sub-letting.

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