TENANT eviction and rent recovery firm Landlord Assist is warning landlords to protect their properties against the growing trend of tenants subletting their properties to make a profit.

The company has witnessed an increase in the number of tenants obtaining a tenancy with the deliberate intention of subletting the property for a higher amount than the rent they pay.

Graham Kinnear, managing director at Landlord Assist, said letting agents and landlords should make regular checks on their properties to ensure they were not being sublet and to ensure they were properly maintained by their tenants.

He explained: “With demand exceeding supply in the rental market at present, some unscrupulous individuals are exploiting this shortage by signing for a property on the pretence that they want to live there but are then illegally subletting the property.

“In most circumstances, people renting the property are unaware of the fact that their ‘landlord’ is, in fact, a tenant who has broken their tenancy agreement.

“It is critical that landlords make regular checks on their properties to prevent tenants from subletting to people without their permission.”

Stephen Parry, commercial director at Landlord Assist, said: “It is very concerning if a landlord is unaware of additional people living at their property, as it could lead to increasing damage at the property and growing rent arrears.

“Moreover, the biggest problem facing landlords in this situation is that possession proceedings could become prolonged if there are occupiers in the property that they know nothing about because there is no contractual relationship between the landlord and the actual occupier.

“Indeed, it may even be the case that a court would be reluctant to give possession of the property if the rent has been paid and the landlord has not really suffered a financial loss.”