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Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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If I rent my 3 bed flat to a tenant, who I permit to sublet

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If I rent my 3 bed flat to a tenant, who I permit to sublet it on a room basis, what can I do to protect my interests under the Housing Act 2004 with respect to Council directives regarding HMO licensing? If I amend the STA to state 'no more than 4 people may reside at any one time' at the property and inspect every few months to ensure this clause is not breached, is this sufficient to avoid potential pitfalls legally? I need advice before I agree to sublet the flat as I don't wish to fall fowl of the rules, but it is not clear on the Council's website what the rules are.
I've been working hard to find a Professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right Professional can take a little longer than expected.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Nicola,

I would prefer an answer as soon as possible as time is money and the longer I delay, the longer I lose rental income. I suppose it comes down to how much time do you need to find an expert who can answer my question?

In short, I need to know if a clause in an STA is sufficient to protect me from any potential breaches my tenant may make regarding HMO and the Housing ACT 2004. My understanding is, any breach when discovered can be issued with a notice to quit (section 21 of the Housing Act 2004) and then they have 2 months to vacate, but the risk to me is the Council powers to fine me as the leasehold up to £20,000 and I need to know whether a carefully worded STA is sufficient to protect my interests if such an eventuality were to occur? The letting agent states it is, but it seems sensible to obtain confirmation in the form of legal advice before I agree to commit to such as STA being drawn up.

We will continue to look for a Professional to assist you.
Thank you for your patience,
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Dear Nicola,

You haven't said how long that might take. Please clarify as I need answer asap.

Kind Regards,


Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.
This is a hard one. You could have a clause ion the tenancy agreement that makes it clear they can not have more than 4 persons.
The Act for the offence states:
A person managing or controlling an HMO that should be licensed commits an offence if, without reasonable excuse, he fails to apply for a licence.
Therefore it would hinge on whether you had a reasonable excuse. I think if you found out and turned a blind eye you would be in difficulty. But if the clause is in the agreement, you made it clear to the main tenant and you do regular checks, I think there is nothing more you can do.
You should make it clear in the agreement, ie for the avoidance of doubt, you can not sublet to more than 4 persons.
But if you do that, I think you will be ok.
Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Alex,

So to be clear, if I have a clause in the STA stating the tenant cannot sublet to more than 4 persons and I check the property on a regular basis to ensure this is the case, this would satisfy my legal requirement regarding HMO licencing and the Housing Act 2004 for the Council? How regularly would you advise carrying out an inspection on the property? Online advice suggests 3-6 months. Do you think this is reasonable or would you recommend inspecting more frequently? If so, how frequently would be deemed as reasonable?

Yes. I would suggest every 3 months as that shows you are on the case.
Is that ok?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

And this will protect me legally from the Council wishing to pursue me as the leaseholder in Court and potentially fining me up to £20,000 should the tenant breach the STA? I assume, in the event of any breach, a notice to quit (sec 21) will have to issued to the tenant as soon as any breach is detected?

Yes it would because it is without reasonable excuse.
You have an excuse, its excluded in the agreement and you are making regular inspections.
Yes it would be a Section 8/21 notice
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience: Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank-you. Your help is much appreciated Smile