Landlords should be vigilant when tenants go away for holidays and decide to sublet their rental property without the landlord's consent.
The warning comes from Total Landlord Insurance which says it has seen a 14% increase in the number of accidental and malicious damage claims being received this year as a result of a tenant illegally subletting a property via holiday rental sites.
Among those sites is Airbnb which has enjoyed rapid growth in the UK, particularly for its prime London locations and there's an ever-growing community of users.
While most of the holiday rentals on offer will be hosted responsibly, the insurance firm is warning there will be instances where tenants are subletting without permission.
Around half of tenants are subletting without permission
The firm's chief executive, Eddie Hooker, said: “While they are on holiday, a tenant may consider subletting to earn easy extra income but according to the National Landlords’ Association around half of tenants are subletting without the landlord’s permission.
“Subletting a property could breach a landlord’s mortgage terms and invalidate their insurance policy so it's important that they are aware of any problems.
“There's an increasing number of landlords suffering with malicious and accidental damage to their properties which is leading to a rise in claims because tenants have sublet.”
Landlords worried about their tenant subletting the property should check the holiday property websites to see whether the rental property has been advertised.
They are also advised to check the tenancy agreement so it includes a clause that prevents the tenant from subletting and should they find evidence of subletting they must inform the tenant that they have breached their contract.
Big rise in rental activity
Meanwhile, it's been reported that there's been a big rise in the number of new to let listings with properties rising by nearly 14% year-on-year.
The figures come from Agency Express who point out that the volume of properties slipped by 1% last month though the South East saw a 49% rise in the number of properties to let.
In second place is the South West with 29%, Wales with 20.5% and the North East with 15.8% and East Anglia with 12%.
However, when it came to the properties that have been let the biggest rise was seen in Yorkshire and Humber with 7%.
A spokesman for the firm said: “October was unexpectedly slow but the increase in November's figures has redressed the balance with a robust comeback for the UK's rental market.”