If you want to rent out your property, there are specific laws you must follow. While subletting rules may vary based on the property and ownership, everyone must follow some basic rules.
You can rent a room in a shared property as long as you still live there. However, you can’t fully rent out a shared property without both parties’ permission. You and the other owner can come to an agreement for any special circumstances that might occur.
In this article, we’ll talk more about letting out a shared property and the rules you must follow to do it properly.
Subletting Shared Property in the UK: What You Need To Know
When subletting a shared property, there are a few important details you need to know before you start.
All Parties Must Be Aware
The first rule of subletting a shared property is that all parties must be aware of and agree to the subletting. Otherwise, there could be legal repercussions if the other party finds out and does not agree with it. Remember, when you sign a lease with a landlord, you need to follow all the rules laid out in that lease.
If you decide to sublet your home, the most important thing is to let everyone know. If all the parties who share ownership of the residence are okay with subletting, then you are in the clear. Most landlords will work with you when you choose to sublet if there is a circumstance that requires another tenant.
This arrangement is common among military personnel who need to be away from home for months at a time. In this case, landlords will often allow subletting while you are gone so the residence does not remain empty.
Subletting a Room
You can only sublet your home when you are the sole owner of the residence or every party agrees. However, subletting a room is completely different. You can sublet a room in your home without needing any of those things as long as you are still living there and there is nothing in your rental agreement prohibiting this.
Even if you plan to sublet one room while living there, you should always let your landlord know about your plan. This will help them deal with any problems that may arise between you and the person subletting. Remember, you are responsible for any damage to the property. So, letting your landlord know that someone else is there can help if there are any future incidents.
One of the most important rules to follow for subletting is that you must also be there. So, any time you spend away from home, you should notify your landlord and stay reachable if anything arises.
Make sure you read your agreement carefully to ensure that your landlord permits subletting rooms. They may choose to put something in your rental agreement prohibiting this. Read it carefully before subletting if you have a shared ownership property.
Staircasing To Full Ownership
The best way to sublet your shared ownership home is to work your way to full ownership. While this is not an option in every case, you can often gradually obtain full ownership, allowing you to make all the decisions regarding the property moving forward.
For many people, outright ownership is not an option. So, they seek shared ownership. This allows you to share the cost of the property with another party. However, there is a way to gain 100% ownership of a shared property through a process called “staircasing.”
Staircasing is the process of purchasing more shares of the property until you own more of it or even own it outright. Your landlord will lay out the number of shares you can purchase and how much they may charge in fees to do it. The more shares you purchase, the more of the property you own, and the less rent you pay.
They call this process staircasing because it allows you to purchase shares of the home piece by piece until you get to 100% ownership. The landlord will specify the percentage share you can purchase at one time and what final percentage you can achieve in your rental agreement.
The amount you can purchase varies based on your lease. So, it is important to know this before agreeing to shared ownership. Some leases only allow purchases of 25% of shares at a time. If you have the money for this, you can quickly work your way to full ownership. However, there are other options too.
If 25% of shares are out of reach, you aren’t alone. That’s why most leases allow for share purchases of as low as 1%, allowing you to slowly work your way up in ownership.
One of the most important factors to know before getting into shared ownership is how much you can own the property. Some landlords won’t allow you to reach 100%. If the landlord doesn’t want to hand over complete ownership of the property, they’ll likely stop you at 75% or 80%.
Selling Your Share
If you have no other options to sublet your shared ownership property, you may want to just sell your share and move on to another place. If your landlord is unwilling to work with you regarding subletting or staircasing, it’s best to find another property that can better suit your needs.
Fortunately, you can easily sell your property ownership without much hassle. For a home that you own outright, you can just put it on the market and sell it to a buyer you choose. However, things are slightly different when you have shared ownership of a property.
To start, you can’t simply sell a shared ownership property like you can when you own it. You need to check your lease agreement to see what your options are. Sometimes, you can simply find a buyer to cover your portion of ownership. But that is not always possible.
Sometimes, there is a mandatory buyback in your lease, meaning the sale needs to go through the landlord. Essentially, you need to notify them of your intent to sell, and they will decide how to proceed. The landlord will either buy you out of your part of the shared ownership or find another buyer to replace you.
However, the landlord has the power in this situation to make the decision of who purchases the shared ownership next. Each lease that specifies the landlord will handle the buyback also has a set amount of time you need to allow for the landlord to find a new buyer. This duration is often called the “nomination” period, and it can last 4, 8, or 12 weeks depending on the lease.
You can purchase another shared ownership property or even invest in your own property for renting to others in the future. If you want to learn more about how to do that, check out our article “Property Investment for Beginners.” It has some useful information about becoming a landlord and what you need to expect moving forward.
There are always exceptions to leases that you can bypass if necessary. So, let’s cover some basic exceptions that would allow you to bypass the buyback and nomination period process.
First, it is important to know that once you reach the end of the nomination period set in your lease, you can sell your share yourself if the landlord has not found a buyer or bought it themselves. At this point, you are free to sell your ownership on the free market to whomever you see fit without interference from the landlord since you gave them the allotted time.
There are only a few ways to avoid a nomination period set in the lease when trying to sell a shared ownership property. First, if the property owner has died, the nomination period will be null, as they are no longer responsible for the lease agreement.
Alternatively, someone can avoid the nomination period with a court order requesting that you transfer ownership. This can happen if a court has decided, for whatever reason, that you are no longer able to reside in the property. The court will ask you to transfer ownership so that you can vacate the property quickly.
Valuation is an important part of selling your share of a shared ownership property. You need to get this done to help make sure that buyers are paying the correct price for the property.
Property valuations are critical in the shared ownership process, as the property’s value will change when you make changes to the space.
You will also need a property valuation when you purchase shares of the property. A co-ownership valuation lasts for three months before you need a new one. This will cover any changes that can happen over three months. Of course, you can get it done more often if you feel it is necessary.
A valuation can help you get the price you deserve when selling a property. If you added something to the property that may have raised its value, then a valuation will allow you to sell it for more.
Keep in mind that the valuation process of a home will cost you money. In other words, you will need to pay a fee to have it done. However, getting a valuation can benefit you and the potential buyer also, as it ensures that the property is worth what you are selling it for. Paying the fee can be a nuisance, but it is worth ensuring the value of the property.
What Can Happen if You Let Out a Shared Ownership Property Without Permission?
Now that we know how subletting a shared ownership property works, let’s talk about the consequences of doing this when your lease does not permit it. As discussed, we recommend talking to your landlord first to see what their specific rules are or checking your lease. But if you let out your property without permission from the landlord, there can be a few consequences.
First, subletting in a shared ownership property without notifying the landlord and against the rules of your lease is grounds for eviction. If your landlord finds out, they will have a right to terminate the lease because you broke it by allowing someone else to stay in the building.
Your lease is often the only documentation used in these situations. So, you need to follow what your lease allows first and foremost. If you reach a verbal agreement with your landlord, make sure to change the lease or get the agreement in writing to protect yourself in the future.
Violating the lease in any way is reason enough to evict you. Make sure you follow the rules of subletting closely or risk eviction from your home. Your landlord may pursue legal charges for any damage done to the property during the subletting period.
To avoid evictions and potential legal issues, always check with your lease and then the landlord for any subletting. Remember, there are rules against subletting your entire property as a shared owner, but your landlord can also have rules against subletting while you are present too.
The best way to protect yourself, the landlord, and the property is to know what you agree to before signing the lease. Doing so will help you understand the limits you face with subletting and avoid breaking the lease unknowingly.
There are ways you can let out a shared ownership property, but there are some obstacles that stand in your way. The best way to start the process of subletting is to read your lease carefully. The landlord will most likely have specified their rules regarding subletting in the lease for you.
Most landlords allow you to let out a room in your home as long as you do not move out. Otherwise, there are going to be limitations to what you can do. Of course, most landlords are willing to accommodate special circumstances. So, always talk with them first.