My Landlord is Illegally Subletting to Me. What Can I Do?

It's easier to become a victim of illegal subletting than you may think. In most cases, it happens when the contract holder rents the property to a third party posing as the landlord. This could result in many complications, such as a breach of contract agreement, and the actual landlord might even kick you out without notice.

If you suspect your landlord is illegally subletting, you should take legal action immediately. Several avenues are available to you, but first, you need to determine if you're being illegally sublet.

Lack of a lease

In many cases, anyone trying to sublet a property illegally will not provide you with a legal lease contract to show that you're a tenant in that property. This is common when another tenant is the legal tenant, and they are trying to sublet. If the tenant cannot provide a lease at the beginning of the tenancy. The landlord may insist on a verbal agreement, but a written lease is best, even though these can be binding.

Online listings

It's possible to find a legitimate landlord using online listings. However, such platforms are also awash with tenants who are looking to sublease. If you decide to look for a property to rent online, ensure you're talking to the property owner and someone who has rented the property and is looking to sublet it.

If your landlord is illegally subletting, you may also notice you share some amenities and spaces within the property, with your bedroom being your only private place. In some extreme cases, even the bedrooms might be shared.

If you notice any of these signs, you should raise a flag that you might be a victim of illegal subletting. The next steps you take are crucial in resolving the issues.

Most sub-letting tenants believe that they have no rights and could lose the property at any time. But this isn’t true.

It is possible to avoid losing your home to the actual landlord and the primary tenant, but in many cases, this requires taking legal action.

Notify the actual landlord

The most practical first step is to notify the landlord of the property that their tenant is illegally subletting. You may find out that the tenant has already sought permission to sublet from the landlord and is okay with it. In such a case, you can continue with the sublet, or if you're not comfortable with it, give notice and move according to the terms of your lease.

However, if the sublet is not legal and the landlord has not given permission, they will let you know, and you can be confident that the sublet is legal. You can pursue a case in court since you have rights even when being sublet.

Collect Evidence

You will need to collect evidence detailing that you have been paying rent and the deposit amount you paid when moving into the property.

If you have a lease you signed with the prime tenant, you should add it to your collection of documents.

It is essential to understand that various factors related to the sublet can change the outcome of the case. Ideally, if the lease terms are not legally binding or the tenant used the sublet to enrich and benefit themselves, you may be able to sue for damages.

Also, if the tenant evicted you illegally or is holding your deposit without clear reason, you can sue to have it refunded.


When the subletting landlord is taking advantage of you and overcharging the rent, you can seek to renegotiate the rental rates under a new and legal lease once you determine the sublet is illegal. This is common among tenants who don't want to move but would like a fair deal. You can also ask to get back some of the rent that you have overpaid. However, this doesn't always turn out positively.

Legal action

You have the option of taking the subletting landlord to court. But before you do, you should ensure you talk to a lawyer who can represent you. Tenancy laws can get complicated, and having an experienced professional can ensure the facts and evidence are represented correctly. Additionally, once you explain your situation to them, they can advise on whether you should pursue a case and the next best course of action. If your house has mould growing or any other issues, Housing Disrepair Barking can help you claim compensation.

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