Rights of tenants to sublet their home
When renting accommodation many tenants rent directly from a landlord who owns the property. However, it's also possible to rent from another tenant who has rented the property from the owner. This is called subletting.
Most tenants need their landlord's permission before they can sublet all or part of their home. Tenancy agreements often contain a term on this, so you should always check your agreement first.
This page looks at the different rights you have as a tenant to sublet your home.
Rights of secure and flexible tenants to sublet
What are secure tenancies?
Most local authority tenants are secure tenants. You are also likely to be a secure tenant if your landlord is a housing association and your tenancy started before 15 January 1989.
What are flexible tenancies?
Flexible tenancies are offered by some local authorities in England. They are similar to secure tenancies except they last for a fixed period of time.
What rights do secure and flexible tenants have to sublet?
Secure and flexible tenants have a legal right to sublet part of their home with their landlord's written permission. If you sublet part of your home without permission, you are in breach of your tenancy agreement.
Your landlord cannot unreasonably withhold its consent to a request to sublet part of your home. Also, your landlord cannot attach conditions if it allows you to sublet.
If your landlord refuses your request to sublet part of your home, it must give you its reasons why.
You cannot lawfully sublet all of your home. If you do, you lose your status as a secure tenant and your landlord can evict you.
Rights of assured and assured shorthold tenants to sublet
What are assured and assured shorthold tenancies?
Assured tenants are mainly housing association tenants where the tenancy began on or after 15 January 1989. Some assured tenants have private landlords. This is likely to be the case where you moved into your home between 15 January 1989 and 27 February 1997 and you didn't get a notice saying that the tenancy was an assured shorthold tenancy.
You can also be an assured tenant with a private landlord if you moved in on or after 28 February 1997, but this is quite rare.
Many tenants who rent from a private landlord are assured shorthold tenants. You are likely to be an assured shorthold tenant if your tenancy started on or after 28 February 1997, you pay rent to a private landlord and you don't share any accommodation with them.
Some assured shorthold tenants also have housing association landlords, for example, if you have a starter tenancy.
What rights do assured and assured shorthold tenants have to sublet?
Assured and assured shorthold tenants may be able to sublet their home depending on what it says in the tenancy agreement. If it contains a term about subletting, then this will always apply. If the term says that you need your landlord’s consent, then your landlord will not unreasonably be able to refuse it.
If your tenancy agreement doesn't include a term on subletting, particular rules will apply if you have a periodic tenancy. A periodic tenancy is one that runs from one rent period to another, for example, from month to month. Periodic tenancies can arise when you stay on in your home after the fixed term has run out without signing a new agreement for another fixed term.
For periodic tenancies, if your tenancy agreement says nothing about subletting, you cannot sublet without your landlord's permission and they can refuse for any reason.
For fixed term tenancies, if your tenancy agreement says nothing about subletting, it is possible to sublet and your landlord's consent is not required.
- More about assured and assured shorthold tenants with a social housing landlord
- More about assured and assured shorthold tenants with a private landlord
Rights of introductory tenants to sublet
What are introductory tenancies?
An introductory tenancy is a type of local authority tenancy that lasts for one year. It's a form of trial tenancy and if there are no problems in that year, you are likely to become a secure tenant, or in England, a flexible tenant.
What rights do introductory tenants have to sublet?
If you're an introductory tenant, whether you can sublet part of your home depends on what it says in your tenancy agreement. In most cases, subletting isn't allowed or may be allowed subject to the landlord's consent.
You cannot lawfully sublet all of your home. If you do, you lose your status as an introductory tenant and your landlord can evict you.
Rights of protected tenants to sublet
What are protected tenancies?
Protected tenants have private landlords and will have had a tenancy for a long time, that is, from before 15 January 1989. These tenants are also known as regulated tenants.
There are two stages to a protected tenancy. The first stage is the contractual period based on the initial agreement between the landlord and the tenant. This part of the tenancy may be referred to as the contractual or protected tenancy.
The second stage is when the contractual period comes to an end and the tenancy becomes a statutory tenancy. It is called this because it is protected by statute - the Rent Act 1977.
What rights do protected tenants have to sublet?
A contractual or statutory protected tenant may be able to sublet part of their home. However, it's important to check the tenancy agreement first. It may prohibit subletting completely or only allow it with the landlord's permission.
Subletting all of your home is only possible if your tenancy is still within the contractual period. However, you should get your landlord's consent. This is because it is possible for your landlord to apply to court to evict you if you sublet the whole property without their consent.
If you are a statutory protected tenant and sublet all of your home, you will lose your status as a statutory tenant and your landlord can evict you.
Rights of demoted and family intervention tenants to sublet
What are demoted and family intervention tenancies?
Tenants with a demoted or family intervention tenancy will have a social housing landlord, such as a local authority or housing association. They will have this type of tenancy as a result of serious anti-social behaviour.
What rights do demoted and family intervention tenants have to sublet?
You should check your tenancy agreement. It's unlikely that you're allowed to sublet your home where you have a demoted tenancy or a family intervention tenancy.
Other useful information
- More about checking what type of tenancy you have - Shelter at www.shelter.org.uk