Subletting my flat – have you encountered any problems?

Camden Leaseholders’ Forum homepage Discussion Board Lease + Ownership Subletting my flat – have you encountered any problems?

This topic contains 11 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Anthony 1 year, 7 months ago.

Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #3946

    Dolcevita
    Participant

    Hello

    I am a Camden leaseholder, lived in Camden 20 years, just signed up to the forum today!

    Due to overcorwding issues my family and i need to leave our Camden place and we plan to let the flat, partly because we are currently restricted from selling the property for 5 years from date of purchase. We also do not really want to sell, its a great flat, but its too small for us.

    I anticipated problems with letting to tenants because our mortgage broker said there might be problems getting permission from the council – however I contacted Camden leaseholder services and they said that all we need is to get the prospective tenant to sign a “deed of covenant” and also for me to pay the fairly reasonable fee of £25 – £50.

    Call me a skeptic, but it all sounds so easy! Has anyone encountered problems getting tenants to sign this document? Are there any onerous/complicated stipulations which might dissuade a prospective tenant from signing? ANy other complications beside this?

    Cheers

    DV

    #3947

    Blackberry
    Participant

    We haven’t started sub -letting yet but yesterday an Estate Agent told me that Camden now restrict sub-letting to lets of three or more months only.

    Does anyone have further information on this restriction –

    Is the three months or more correct?
    Why has the time limit been imposed?
    How can one do shorter lets legally?

    A second estate agent is willing to do short lets but didn’t tell me about the length restriction.

    Thank you.

    #3948

    Bill Richbell
    Participant

    For subletting if you have bought your flat how to do this will be set out in your lease. Mine is an old simple lease and I do not need any form of consent or approval. More modern leases could be stricter as they may have built into them management rules for subletting which is normally fine for Assured Shorthold Tenancies of 6 months lenght. A approach to the Council will prompt them to give a standard response, but first find your own position and you just may not need to approach the Council at all. Don’t ask them what you have to do. Once you are clear yourself tell them what you are doing, which may or may not need approval.

    #3949

    Dolcevita
    Participant

    Thanks Blackberry, I didnt know about this – and I also wonder about the restriction. I suppose if people are on longer lets then its easier for Camden to manage and monitor the comings and goings? Still a bit of a drag tho for leaseholders who want some flexibility.

    #3950

    Dolcevita
    Participant

    SOund advice Bill, thank you. It was the broker who suggested that I ask for permission, however I will indeed check my lease (that should make fun reading!)

    Thanks all

    #3954

    emmajah
    Participant

    I have had a couple of different sets of tenants in my flat and it was very straightforward: I just entered the info into the CamdenAccount portal, paid my money then downloaded the Deed of Covenant for the tenants to sign. I returned it to Camden and got an acknowledgement. There was no indication of any limits on the tenancy (always take estate agents’ gossip with a pinch of salt!)

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by  emmajah.
    #3958

    GRivolta
    Participant

    I think I received a leaflet from Camden explaining this matter.
    If I don’t mistake, they don’t want people subletting though Air B&B ( I think the website was quoted), I think that’s the “short term” they are refering to, I guess because they could not monitor the people living in the flats.
    Giulia

    #3963

    Anthony
    Participant

    Hi!

    If you are thinking of letting your flat then there is a bit more to consider than what you seem to have been told above

    Start off by looking at http://www.camden.gov.uk/ccm/content/housing/council-tenants-and-leaseholders/homeownership/renting-out-your-property/ which sets out much of which you need to know. The main points I would highlight are

    1) Mortgage Consent – you seem to have discussed this with your Mortgage Company but remember anyway you will need to get their consent and there may be some effect on your current deal (and if you end up remortgaging you would have to get a Buy-to-Let Mortgage as well).

    Bear in mind as well that if you currently have a mortgage on the flat this could affect your ability to get a mortgage on a second property – you have to show you can fund both mortgages although I would expect you should be able to produce potential rental income from the flat (could you manage to pay both mortgages though if the flat was empty?).

    2) Landlord’s Consent – this is as covered in the discussion above and, yes, it is a Deed of Covenant which is much easier to handle now than it used to be. As stated above, though, you need to check the terms of your individual Lease (I would not expect you to not be able to do it and any consent required cannot be unreasonably withheld) and as you say you cannot sell because you are still within your 5 years of Right To Buy do double check that letting would not also affect your RTB discount (I don’t think it does)

    Regarding short term lets this is not so much a question of the Lease so much as a question of Planning Permission affecting all properties – Camden explain this at https://www.camden.gov.uk/ccm/content/environment/planning-and-built-environment/two/planning-applications/before-you-apply/residential-and-business-projects/short-term-lettings/ but basically you need Planning Permission for a Holiday Let if you are going to let your Property in periods of 90 days or less for more than 90 days in the year. On the other hand, my Lease has a ‘Permitted Use’ clause for a ‘self-contained residential flat’ which I would guess could be interpreted as excluding Holiday Lets.

    3) Houses in Multiple Occupation – This is one of the major stumbling blocks in recent years and not mentioned on Camden’s Subletting Page above! If you are letting your property to more than 3 people from at least 2 different households (people unrelated to each other such as Students / Flat Sharers) then you need to obtain an HMO Licence from the Council (in its Council Capacity as opposed to as Landlord). Details are at http://www.camden.gov.uk/ccm/navigation/housing/private-rented-housing/landlords/houses-in-multiple-occupation/?page=1#section-1 but there are some quite strict rules (minimum room sizes and a requirement to have a washbasin in the toilet cubicle stand out). These rules do not apply if you are only letting to a family (1 household) but the Student Market has been one of the strongest markets in Camden especially in the central areas.

    4) Health and Safety – As a Landlord there are a number of requirements on you. The main one is an annual Gas Safety Certificate but a 5-yearly Electrical Inspection and Fire Safety Inspection is also recommended.

    5) Service Charges – again, this is one of the lesser publicised impacts of renting your Property. If you are not resident in your flat then Camden expect you to pay all your Service Charges on demand. The annual Estimated charges are generally regarded as quarterly in your Lease but for any Major Works Bills Camden will not allow you the privilege to pay in installments nor will they give you the discount they are discussing offering to people who pay in full straight away (I have questioned this but Camden regard this as a discretionary offer that they do not have to offer to non-resident Leaseholders)

    6) The emotional impact of renting out your ‘home’ – don’t underestimate this. You have probably put a great deal of effort and memories into your home but as somebody advised me once you will have to realise that once you let this out you are going to have to ‘let go’ and accept that this will be your Tenants’ home and not yours. You may not fully approve of the conduct of your Tenants but so long as it’s not illegal or barred in the Tenancy Agreement (Drugs/Smoking/Pets) it doesn’t matter – it’s their home not yours. You will likely go into your flat at some point and see the walls / doors / furniture damaged – you are entitled to be compensated for this but no more.

    7) Income Tax – Any Rental Income is declarable for Income Tax payable by all the Leaseholders and you will have to register for a Self Assessment Tax Return to be completed and paid by the end of the January following the Tax Year (April-March) when you start renting.

    There will be an initial financial hit, then, and you should not assume that the money that comes in at first is yours to spend. If you can pull it off, though, you should have a steady income stream that will cover the costs of your new home. I would recommend you get a good Agency for your first year at least – I got quotes from 4 different Agencies and chose one close to my flat in the end so that they are close by in case of any problems.

    Good Luck!

    #3967

    camdentownie
    Participant

    Great advice Anthony clearing up loads of my questions about this as I embark on handing my keys to a stranger. I agree it sounds like quite a wrench to do so.

    Following on though I’ve been reading up on the application for planning permission for a holiday let. I want to have felixibilty to stay in the flat when I have a solid week or so working in London. The rest of the time I’ll be living in Oxford. I also suspect that the holiday deposit system and letting would protect my property more.

    Does anyone have any experience of this process? I don’t really think AirBnB is how I would go but I was thinking of using a holiday let agent. Do Camden just say no or do they actually listen to each particular case? I work later some evenings so commuting every day to Oxford would just not be an option.

    Thanks for any help anyone can give.

    #4336

    liveseeds
    Participant

    I rent a flat in London using Airbnb – they have stopped allowing London landlords rent for more than 90 days per year, as I believe all councils have always had a 90 day limit on short-term lets. I believe you can let short-term as long as it is not for more than 90 days in a calendar year.

    Can someone help me with my question !
    I have just been advised that I need a HMO. Do you know the requirement for smoke alarms in a 2-bedroom purpose built flat? ie is one smoke alarm in the hall or kitchen sufficient?

    Thanks!

    #4338

    Hi Liveseeds.
    Good thing you checked, as I don’t think either of these points are correct.

    I checked in with Mike Edmunds (head of Leaseholder Services) and this is what he said:

    The council has recently included an article in the home owner news on letting which states:

    Frequently asked questions about letting out your property – we have had several enquiries from leaseholders, asking what the Camden lease allows:

    Q: Can I use my property for short holiday lets?
    A: No, your lease requires you to use your property for residential use only and letting your property on sites such as Airbnb is a breach of your lease. Breaching the lease could also invalidate the buildings insurance.

    Q: Do I have to apply for an additional licence under Camden’s local licensing scheme?
    A: Yes, if your property is occupied by three or more people who form more than one household, your property is a flat in multiple occupation.

    Mike didn’t answer your question about smoke alarms, but I think you need more that 1 of those too. If you contact hmolicensing@camden.gov.uk they will be able to advise you on this. Email is probably best as in my experience they rarely answer the phone (and this way you have it in writing)

    #4339

    Anthony
    Participant

    Regarding Smoke Alarms see section 22 (online pages 26-27) of https://www.camden.gov.uk/ccm/cms-service/stream/asset/LACORS%20-%20HOUSING%20-FIRE%20SAFETY%20Guidance%20on%20fire%20safety%20provisions%20for%20certain%20types%20of%20existing%20housing%20revised%20Aug%2008.pdf?asset_id=3447475

    LACORS Fire Saftety Guidance
    For a self-contained purpose-built flat you need a mains powered smoke alarm with battery backup and a heat alarm in the kitchen and maybe a 2nd smoke alarm in a shared living room depending on risk

Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.