Who needs to be informed?
It’s not uncommon for a tenant to want their girlfriend or boyfriend to move in with them. As a human, you understand this and naturally you wouldn’t want to stand in the way of their relationship. But as a landlord, you know that this is a business and housing an additional tenant means that a few changes will need to be made…
Hopefully your tenant has informed you beforehand that they would like their girlfriend or boyfriend to move in, and you didn’t just find out after the fact. It should state in your tenancy agreement that your tenant must seek the landlord’s permission prior to allowing any “guests” stay over longer than the specified period of time. This is a very common clause in Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreements, and protects you the landlord from any unvetted guests taking up residency in your property.
As soon as you’ve been informed and have agreed to it (which you obviously don’t have to do if you have reason to refuse), then your landlord insurance provider will also need to be made aware as it may affect the price of your premium.
What needs to be done?
The new tenant must be added to the tenancy agreement, but the rent itself needn’t be changed if you don’t wish for it too. This is to ensure that the new tenant has entered a legal agreement to live on the property in compliance with your terms and conditions. This makes them liable for any damage they cause to the property, and gives them the same tenant rights that your existing tenant holds.
Before he or she signs the tenancy agreement, it is well worth performing a background check on them to make sure that they don’t have a criminal record or unfavourable rental history. Otherwise, what do you really know about your mystery tenant? Most landlord insurance providers will require that you reference all tenants, and if you don’t perform a background check on the partner then it may void your insurance policy. You will need to tell your tenant that tenant referencing will be at their cost, similar to how they themselves had to pay an administration fee when they first moved in which covered their own referencing.
What if the tenant is being difficult?
Sometimes a girlfriend or boyfriend moving in is just on a “trial basis” and your tenant may not want to make it “official” by adding his or her name to the tenancy agreement as they don’t want to commit just yet. Explain to them why it needs to be done and how their decision to move him or her in affects you as their landlord. If, in future, your tenant wants him or her out again, then the Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement can be changed again to reflect the situation but, again, your tenant will have to pay the small administration fee.
If, for some reason, your tenant absolutely refuses to get their boyfriend/girlfriend checked offering no explanation in return, then you can only assume the worst and should treat their behaviour as suspicious. Maybe the new partner has a criminal history or knows that they would not pass a background check or previous landlord referencing. Or, if your tenant is in receipt of LHA (Local Housing Allowance AKA housing benefit), their partner living with them will affect the amount which they receive so they may be avoiding having their benefits affected by the change of circumstance. Another potential outcome would be if you have already stated to your landlord insurance provider that there are no DSS tenants at the property to get a lower premium. Your tenant may be a professional working tenant but their new partner may be declaring LHA to your address, voiding your policy.
Things can get complicated when someone new moves into your property. But as long as it is handled smoothly, and with mutual respect and understanding between landlord and tenant, then there should be no reason for anything to get complicated. It’s an easy enough process, so long as your tenant is honest with you and cooperative.