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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10401
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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I sublet a property which I rent from my landlord. I sublet

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I sublet a property which I rent from my landlord. I sublet it to my brother in law and his girlfriend and they have signed a 12 month tenancy with me. I have permission from my landlord to sublet.
Last week they separated and kicked my brother in law out and claimed he had no right to the house and said she will take the tenancy on with my landlord herself as what I have done is illegal and you cannot sublet. I have advised them both that they are tied to a tenancy with me and that it is legal etc and that they should have no dealings with my landlord.
Cut a long story short after they have tried it on with my landlord, the girt has lost her job and moved out but handed the keys back to my landlord and not me. I went to the property lastnight and it has been left in a state in which the whole place needs decorating and deep cleaning etc.
I would like to know what to do now legally as of course I need to pay my landlord for my rent but how can I have recourse over these two. They did not pay a deposit even though the tenancy said they should but there were some issues surrounding this which meant they were going to pay it late but didn't.
During the tenancy they have painted over wallpaper and left the underneath showing through and also left holes in walls where shelving was left hanging. They also had a lodger stay with his two dogs when they were not permitted.
So to move forward is it reasonable for me to assume she has abandoned the property and should I issue a section 8 notice on the ground of breach of contract for decorating, lodgers, pets etc. That might deal with eviction but what about a money claim for repairs, lost rent etc etc.
Sorry if that was all a bit of a ramble.

Hello - for clarification why did your landlord agree to let you sublet and who holds the deposit?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
My landlord agreed to let me sublet because I had been long standing tenant and because I was moving away to a different property but wanted the security that I could come back after a year if I wanted. My deposit is held with my landlord and my tenants deposit hasn't been paid so doesn't exist.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Did you see my previous answer?

In brief terms, (you are aware of this) there is no relationship between your landlord and your tenant. The only relationship is between you and your tenant. Your landlord is out of the equation.

Notice by one tenant to end the tenancy agreement (provided it is within the terms of the agreement) is notice of all tenants and one tenant can give notice on behalf of both of them. If the other tenant then remains in the property, then the other tenant needs to “negotiate” a deal with the landlord (you).

I don’t know on what basis they kicked your brother-in-law out because they actually have no legal right to do that.

Whoever is responsible for the damage is obviously liable to pay for it and if they are joint tenants, then they are jointly liable. If one did the damage then you can chase both of them and whoever is innocent in all this will have to pursue the one that did it.

You ask what your situation is, you pursue your brother-in-law and his girlfriend jointly for the full amount of the debt in respect of the rent and the full cost of the repairs and cleaning. Let them sort out between them who owes which proportion. If you have to take them to court, then you take them jointly as first defendant and second defendant.

They had a lodger with two dogs and as they have now vacated, there is little you can do about that although added to the cost of the cleaning.

If she has given notice, and the notice has expired, then abandonment doesn’t come into it.

You can normally only claim a couple of weeks lost rent if you need a couple of weeks to put the property into good order.

. Can I clarify anything else for you?

I’m happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

Please take a moment to look at the top right hand corner of the page and rate my service by clicking one of the stars at the top of the screen. It’s important you use the rating service because that gives me credit. It doesn’t just give me a pat on the head! All you need to do is press Submit. Thank you. If you still need any point clarifying, I will still reply because the thread does not close.

Best wishes.


Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Hi,Thanks for your reply.Just a couple of things to confirm.1. There is clause in the agreement for only one person to end the tenancy.
2. They will both be responsible for the damage although my brother in law is prepared to decorate the whole property therefore I guess there won't be a loss except for a deep clean which I will claim if need be.
3. They have paid this months rent which was due on 15th so I guess he could clean up the whole house during this month however the tenancy is for a 12 month period and they are only 5 months in. I do not expect to hold them to term as I would rather they just vanish however I would expect them to negotiate an early exit which I would propose an extra 1-2 months rent which will allow me ensure everything is done to the property and allow me time to issue my required notice to my landlord to end my tenancy if I wish to. Surely if I ended there tenancy prior to 12 months they would have a good claim against me so it must work in reverse?
4. She hasn't given notice as such. All she has done is move her stuff out and given the keys to my landlord instead of me. I don't feel this is adequate and would think I need to be given notice myself in writing and I have read somewhere that I can't assume she has abandoned the property either. Basically, I don't want her to pop up all of a sudden and say hold on a minute wheres my house gone and claim she didn't tell me she was wanting to end the tenancy.I have a feeling she will pop back up once I try and make a wrong move so want to make sure it is all done properly with no potential holes.I think that is all unless your answers bring further questions.Regards

Thank you.

1 noted although that is the default situation in any event.

2 Noted.

3 That’s correct, he could clean it up during the final month if he is inclined to do so. You are entitled to negotiate an early exit with them which may involve accepting a premium. You are under a duty to mitigate your loss by trying to get another tenant as indeed they are. You are correct, if they end it early or you end it early, that the situation is the same.

4 If she no longer has keys to the property and she has handed the keys back, then I think that is tantamount to giving notice and abandoning the property because even though she may claim that she hasn’t abandoned it, then provided there is nothing left in it and she doesn’t have keys, I cannot see how she could argue anything else. I think it would be a good idea to write to her and text her and communicate to her in any way whatsoever however asking her to confirm that she has left the property. If you say that you not going to hold out of the rest of the period, provided she confirms that, I think you have more chance of getting a reply. It might be worthwhile getting your brother-in-law to give you written notice for the same reasons we have stated before in paragraph 1 above

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
That's great thank you.
I have no doubt that my brother in law will do a letter but for the avoidance of doubt if he doesn't then I guess just let him live there and they are both liable for the rent until the end of term etc.Regards

If one has given notice but the other one hasn’t moved out, then they both remain liable for the rent until the end of the term or until the property is vacant if later.

Before you go (you can come back at any time), please don’t forget to use the rating service because that gives me credit. It doesn’t just give me a pat on the head! The thread remains open. We can still exchange emails.

Kind regards.


F E Smith and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Hi,Following on from the above I hope you are still able to answer me as I need a little further help.Basically, things have happened since we discussed the above and it now seems the situation has flipped in a different direction.Bascially, no one has been living at the property and the rent between myself and my lanlord is paid up to date and I have not heard anything from my landlord regading any issues etc. On Friday I went to the property to check it is ok being it is left empty and it turns out that my landlord has changed the locks so assume he has essentially evicted me without any notice etc. I tried to contact my landlord with no success and decided on Saturday to text him and basically said what he has done is illegal but would be willing to accept my months rent back being I cannot access the property and my deposit. I gave him until 4pm today to pay up in full and final settlement but if he doesn't then I will take it further. I haven't heard from him and don't think he will pay so just wanted to know the right direction to go and what claims to bring.Just some general facts about the property and my tenancy to consider.1. My rent is paid and no one has ever ended a tenancy.
2. I have items of mine in the property still and rear garden. (Cooker, Playhouse, Blinds etc).
3. My deposit was never placed into a deposit protection scheme as far as I am aware.
4. For the first three years of my tenancy no gas safety check was carried out and only started once the boiler broke and got replaced.
5. There is no epc for the property supplied by my landlord which there should be.
6. I had to fit my own carbon monoxide detector as he didn't think one was ever needed.My landlord has communicated via a third party with my brother in law to discuss removing their items from the property so it seems he is trying to bypass me despite his agreement being with me and my agreement being with my brother in law.If this is to complex and considered a different questions then I will open a new case with you?Thanks
Customer: replied 5 months ago.