My former tenant sublet my house without my permission. What can I do?

Property Clinic: I served a notice for the occupants to vacate but they are still there

Dealing with people who think the rules do not apply to them can be disconcerting. File photograph: Getty Images

Dealing with people who think the rules do not apply to them can be disconcerting. File photograph: Getty Images

 

My tenant allowed a couple to move into my two-bed, end-of-terrace house. He made no agreement in writing with them and only informed me when they had been in the property for 11 months.

I served a termination notice for the tenant and occupants to vacate by December 2020. I also sent a letter to inform them that the property would be inspected at the end of November, however, the agent was not permitted entry.

The tenant left the property at the end of November but the couple are still in it and are not paying. I did offer them the tenancy (as advised by the Residential Tenancies Board) but they refused. I have had a complaint from the neighbour relating to domestic rubbish stacking up in the garden. What can I do?

One of the most disconcerting issues I have encountered in recent years is dealing with people who not only think the rules do not apply to them but then proceed to lecture me that I should abide by the rules they ignore. Accordingly, I understand your angst in dealing with your tenant situation.

There is a certain paucity of information provided so I am unsure whether you are aware of the identities of the current occupants and whether you acquiesced to their presence in the property.

If you are unaware of their identity and if the outgoing tenant never informed you of who they are, then you cannot register the tenancy with the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) as you do not have their particulars. You could, of course, take a case against the tenant that allowed them residence in the property as they did not act legally in so doing. I am not sure you would succeed on that one. If, on the other hand, you have their identities then you can register their tenancy without their permission as they are in the property.

Either option is open to you. If you can register their tenancy, you can then take an action to the RTB for rent and arrears and antisocial behaviour (rubbish dumped in the back garden). As I have said in previous replies to the property clinic, I have always found the RTB adjudicators very fair in reaching decisions and there will not be much tolerance for a party who refuse to pay rent and observe basic conditions.

If this option is not open to you and you do not have their identities then they are effectively squatting in your property. In that event, you can go to your solicitor and seek advice or you can search for a remedy of your choosing. If the occupants do not seek a proper tenancy and therefore the legal protections afforded under the 2004 Tenancies Act, I cannot see what protections they can seek.

With regards to the rubbish, I would contact the relevant local authority and inform them that you have a concern. They will send the appropriate environmental department unit to inspect the property and issue them with a large fine if warranted. This may be a starting point.

My final advice, do not sit on your hands, act now. – Kersten Mehl

Kersten Mehl is a chartered residential agency surveyor and member of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland

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