PRW article published 29th June 2012 – “Subletting a growing problem: property manager”

More and more landlords are being caught unaware by problems caused by strangers living in their investment properties, according to Melbourne property manager Inessa Kabaker, who says that devastated landlords often contact her in order to rectify a situation gone wrong.

“Tenants are leasing properties and then, without permission, they are subletting them to unknown people,” Kabaker said.

“Subletting like this is becoming a way for tenants to earn some extra money; some tenants even go so far as to make this into a full time business! I recently saw one property in St Kilda East that had been badly damaged by tenants who were subletting the house. The residents occupying the property had no idea they were leasing the property off tenants. They thought they were dealing with the owners of the property.

“They had ruined carpets, punched holes in the walls and had left the place in such a mess it took professional cleaners and painters over a week to rectify and cost the landlord $2000.”

Kabaker says that the people who tenants sublet to are usually students or travellers who need somewhere to live temporarily, so there is a huge turnover of tenants, but that the main problem is that these unauthorised sublessors are not referenced or checked.

“This oversight often causes problems for the landlord in areas of damage, noise or destruction of property,” she said.

“Landlords need to be protected from the heartache and loss of money, due to damage, loss, abandonment by tenants and non-payment of rent.”

Kabaker said in most cases, subletting is compounded by owners managing their own properties and not having the knowledge and insight to foresee and manage these issues. She said that the best ways to avoid this problem are for the property owners to:

* Research and find a reputable property management company

*Make sure tenants come with references from previous agents

*Make sure there is a clause added to the Tenancy Agreement for non-subletting and the consequences of a breach

*Undertake regular routine inspections or have them undertaken on your behalf


Kabaker Property Group