Most of us take holidays, whether you’re lucky enough to be planning an extended trip, a honeymoon or just your annual break. If you’re living in an HMO and you’re planning to get away then there are a few things to remember first.
If you’re going away for a week or more then it seems sensible to let someone else stay in that empty room and charge them a fee right? With the arrival of AirBnB and similar websites we are all making money from our empty spaces these days but if you’re a tenant then this could be subletting. You will be subletting if you let someone stay in your room and you collect rent from them – essentially, you become their landlord. Most tenancies won’t allow you to sublet your room without permission from the landlord – some may rule out subletting altogether. In most cases, if you sublet then you are in breach of your tenancy and the landlord will be able to serve notice on you and ask you to leave. However, in some circumstances subletting may be allowed – usually where you have the landlord’s permission in writing. To be safe, get your ‘tenant’ to pay the rent directly to the landlord and not you then the landlord cannot claim not to know about the subtenant.
For extended trips, it’s worth working out whether you want to keep a tenancy or remove yourself from it while you’re away. The benefits of getting out of your tenancy are obviously that you don’t have to worry about rent payments and you can use all your cash to pay for your travelling. On the other side of the coin, you may have to pay to put your things into storage and you won’t have a room to come back to. If you’re planning a trip but you’re not exactly sure when you will leave then consider only signing a six month tenancy agreement, or make sure you have a break clause you can activate after six months. If you don’t have one, you may be able to ask the landlord to surrender the tenancy i.e. agree that you can leave before the end of the contract. This will usually require you to find a replacement housemate if you have a joint tenancy.
Read your tenancy agreement carefully and look out for any clauses that might catch you if you’re going away. For example, your tenancy might require you not to leave your room empty for more than a month. There could be penalties for problems that arise as a result of your actions, such as going away and leaving a window open, causing rain to soak the carpet. You may be required to leave a key to your room with someone else if you’re going away for a long period of time. Make sure that you tell the agent or landlord that you’re going to be away so that people don’t start wondering where you are. A lack of information could result in everything from reporting you missing to serving notice on you while you’re away so you come back to an eviction notice.