Landlord Law blog reader Dave has questions for the blog clinic on sub tenants:
Hi, if a residential tenant has a subtenant (ie not a lodger) and the subtenant is evicted (sub-letting being against the contract), what happens to the sub-tenant?
I presume that as they have an AST with the tenant, they have tenancy rights? Does their tenancy revert to the superior landlord? Or could the bailiffs, enforcing the possession order, remove the sub-tenants too?
My understanding here is that where the sub letting is unlawful (ie against the tenancy and the landlord has not agreed to it), an order for possession against the tenant will also end the sub tenancy. Or, to use a phrase often used in this context “the branch falls with the tree”. So a bailiff will be able to evict everyone he finds at the property, including the subtenant.
However if a landlord accepts a surrender from the tenant (ie if it is agreed between them that his tenancy will end), then the landlord will be bound by the sub tenancy and the subtenant will then hold his tenancy direct from the landlord.
Which is why, if you agree to a surrender from your tenant, this must always be conditional upon vacant possession being given, so you don’t get stuck with any sub tenants or lodgers.