Lodgers and Subletting

You have the right to take in lodgers as long as it does not make your home overcrowded, but you must inform us in writing first.  If you are getting housing benefit, you must tell housing benefits you have a lodger or have sublet part of your home as it may affect the amount of benefit you can receive.  We will not allow you to take in lodgers if you live in a sheltered unit or other form of supported accommodation.

You can sublet part of your home but you must get our permission in writing first. We will refuse permission if it would make your home overcrowded or if we are planning work on your home which would affect the accommodation likely to be used by the lodger or subtenant.

Note: There are legal differences between a lodger and a subtenant, and you should get advice before renting a room in your home.

If you apply for a transfer, lodgers and subtenants are not our responsibility and will not be considered part of your household. If you move out, you must not leave lodgers or subtenants in your home. If you do take in a lodger or sublet part of your home, remember that you are responsible for their behaviour. If they cause a nuisance or harass your neighbours, you will be breaking your tenancy and may risk losing your home.

You cannot sublet or give up possession of your entire home. If you do, you will lose your secure tenancy and we will take back your home.

If you are going away for more than 42 days, you must tell let us know. This information will be kept confidential. We strongly recommend that you provide your forwarding address and a contact phone number. This is in case there is an emergency and we need to get into your home.

Right to Rent

What is Right to Rent?

The new Right to Rent legislation requires Local Authority tenants who sub-let their accommodation to check the immigration status of the person before they allow them to move in. It also applies to occupiers who take in a lodger to share their accommodation with a licence to occupy the property and also private landlords.    

Anyone who does not have permission to be in the UK is unable to occupy residential accommodation here as they have no right to be in the UK.

If you do not do this you may be liable for a civil penalty if you authorise occupation of accommodation for use as an only or main home by a person who does not have the right to rent in the UK.  A penalty of up to £3000 per tenant could be given.

When does it apply?

This applies to all lodgers and subletting created on or after the implementation date of 1 February 2016.

Who should be checked?

  • All adults using a property as their only or main home, even if they are not on the tenancy agreement
  • All prospective tenants and lodgers – a lodger is a person who takes a room within accommodation that they share with their landlord (this could be the owner or occupier of the property).

How should documents be checked?

  1. Ask for original acceptable documents
  2. Check the document’s validity in their presence
  3. Make and retain a clear copy of the documents and record the date the check was made

A list of relevant documents can be found in Section 5 of the full document.

A full copy of the document Right to Rent, Code of Practice can be found at www.gov.uk/government/publications.   

Illegal subletting

If you are an introductory tenant you do not have the right to sublet part of your home

As a secure tenant we will also want to make sure that you are the person living in the property. As a secure tenant you have the right to sublet part of your home but you need to have written permission from us to do this

No tenant has the right to sublet the whole of their property. 

If we find out that someone is illegally occupying one of our properties, we will have to decide if the person has any claim to the property:

  • do they have the right to succeed to the tenancy
  • the right to be assigned the tenancy or
  • the right to be rehoused under homelessness legislation.

If the person does not have any legal right to the property, we will take legal action to regain possession of the property.

We already take a number of actions to find out who is living in the property.  At least two types of identification must be provided before:

We also have information on tenants living in properties fitted with Lifeline technology.    

If you suspect that a tenant is illegally subletting their home, please let us know by ringing 01325 405333 or email us at housing@darlington.gov.uk