A cautionary tale of subletting rooms in a rental property – realestate.com.au

A cautionary tale of subletting rooms in a rental property - realestate.com.au

Final week, the pinnacle tenant of a Sydney sharehouse admitted to subletting rooms for greater than needed with a purpose to cowl the price of their very own hire, serving as a cautionary story.

The nameless publish inside a Fb group gained plenty of consideration and sparked heated debate when the particular person defined that their different housemates needed to signal onto the lease formally.

Such a transfer would expose the truth that that they had been protecting the pinnacle tenant’s hire.

The nameless publish brought about a stir among the many Fb neighborhood. Image: Sydney Inside-West Housemates Fb Group


Whereas loads of jaws just about dropped, the scenario is not truly unlawful, until it explicably states within the lease that subletting will not be permitted, which implies it is to the pinnacle tenant’s discretion how a lot they cost for every room.

“Morally the scenario is improper, however legally it isn’t,” Claudia Conley, affiliate product supervisor at flatmates.com.au, defined.

“When a room in a share home is marketed for a specific value and also you comply with that value, there’s technically nothing unlawful with this.”

The mixture of low rental inventory and excessive demand is pushing costs up and creating robust competitors for tenants throughout the nation.

Benefiting from tenants financially throughout this time is especially merciless, Ms Conley mentioned.

Legally, being a head tenant and charging greater than the required hire will not be unlawful. Image: Getty


“At Flatmates, 75% of our viewers lives in share lodging on account of monetary causes,” she mentioned.

“This piled up with the rising value of residing and aggressive rental market, it is distressing to suppose that individuals can be benefiting from different sharers to raised their very own scenario.

“The excellent news is, conditions like this are uncommon and members who’ve been caught doing this up to now have been faraway from flatmates.com.au.”

Based on recent data from PropTrack, simply 1.58% of rental inventory nationally is accessible for hire. In metropolitan areas, the emptiness fee is 1.63% and in regional Australia, it is simply 1.45%.

At a nationwide stage, the median dwelling rental value was recorded at $480 per week on the finish of 2022. Over the calendar 12 months, rents rose by 6.7% nationally – larger than the 4.7% enhance seen in 2021.  

What’s a head tenant?

Head tenants are those who’re signed onto the lease. A head tenant can determine to sub-lease rooms, however they’re chargeable for the property and are technically the owner to a sub-tenant.

Leo Patterson Ross, chief government of Tenants Union New South Wales, mentioned whereas there is not any laborious information on how frequent head tenancies are, they make up a big portion of renters.

“It is extra frequent with households… however there are lots of people, I believe, who’re residing in share homes and do not realise there’s a head tenant, or that they’re a sub-tenant,” Mr Patterson Ross mentioned.

“The Residential Tenancies Act has been modified to be a bit extra constructive. It was you are not allowed to sublet till you’ve got obtained permission. Now it is you may sublet for those who’ve obtained permission.”

Sub-tenants usually pay the pinnacle tenant bond cash and head tenants should give a sub-tenant a 90-day termination discover throughout a periodic settlement, or a 30-day termination discover on the finish of the fixed-term settlement.

Sub-tenants nonetheless have tenancy rights beneath the residential tenancy act in every state and territory. Image: realestate.com.au


A sub-tenant should give the head-tenant a 21-day termination discover beneath a periodic settlement, or a 14-day termination discover earlier than the tip of a fixed-term settlement.

It is inspired {that a} head tenant and sub-tenant comply with their state or territory’s Residential Tenancies Act.

“I feel that various brokers and landlords are high quality with it [head tenancies] as a result of it provides them a single level of duty and accountability,” Mr Patterson Ross mentioned.

Signing onto a lease

Nearly all of rental agreements by way of a property supervisor will stipulate that anybody residing in a property might want to both be on the lease, or have consent from the owner to reside there.

There are professionals and cons to being on the lease, in response to Mr Patterson Ross, and it depends upon the person’s scenario.

“I feel for those who’re contemplating signing onto the lease, it is best to actually take into consideration whether or not you need to enter right into a contract with the folks you are residing with,” he mentioned.

“It is usually simpler for those who’re a sub-tenant with a written settlement, so that you simply nonetheless have tenancy regulation protection.”

Mr Patterson Ross means that tenants who’re making use of for a room in a share home ask these already there what the hire for the complete property is, and the way lengthy and what sort of tenancy it’s – periodic or mounted – earlier than transferring in.

“That manner you realize what the seemingly influence is on you as a brand new particular person in the home as a result of you do not have the identical communication with the agent,” he mentioned.

The possible tenant can even request to see the lease settlement, nevertheless the pinnacle tenant is beneath no obligation to point out them.

Ms Conley mentioned having any written settlement in place is useful for the tenant.

“We perceive that typically official lease agreements are unavailable for all preparations and so we extremely encourage everybody to have an settlement in writing at a minimal.

“We’ve a free lease agreement template on our website that you need to use instead of an official lease settlement,” she mentioned.

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