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Subletting: The rogue to the legitimate

Subletting of prime London lettings properties is a lucrative business. 

What began as a rogue trade over the course of several years, is becoming more legitimate. Several subletting corporations are openly admitting their reasons for renting; to make money from someone else’s asset.

With Prime Central London rents already extortionate, it’s a wonder how it’s possible to charge a further premium. Who would pay this and why would they bother?


Renting in London is complicated, especially if you are coming from abroad, don’t speak the language and only have reasons to rent for a few months. 

If someone offers to take away the hassle of finding a suitable rental property, cheaper than hotel rates; why wouldn’t one opt in? Many are, which has made a seemingly implausible business model possible.

Stringent referencing, right to rent checks and tenancy term restrictions make the renting process daunting and difficult. 

However, by making the process so complicated are respected agencies and deserving landlords losing out in the process? 

Temporary housing for foreign visitors on medical visas, student housing, housing for people coming to work for blue chip companies from abroad; these are targeted audiences I have come across, I’m sure there are more. 

With people sourced in their home countries, prior to arriving in London accommodation is ready and waiting for their arrival. 

There are issues. The legitimacy of many companies arranging the occupants has been compromised by rogue companies who have failed to be forthcoming with their tenancy plans, occupant details and defaulting on rental payments. 

The legitimate lettings industry has created spin off profiteers through complicated processes, not helped by the legislative need to check occupants’ documents first hand with right to rent checks. 

Is there a solution? Simplicity, transparency and flexibility. 

Can this be implemented without the middle man? It remains to be seen.

*Olivia McSweeney is Lettings Manager at UK Sotheby's International Realty


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