’Subletting is not covered under most landlord insurance policies,’ warns landlord product manager

Landlords and tenants have been warned that they “need to be aware that subletting has serious insurance complications” amid a ”concerning number of tenants” admitting to having secretly sublet all or part of their landlords’ property.

In a statement released today (25 July 2023), Direct Line business insurance revealed that some 48% of renters who sublet their properties have not disclosed this to their landlords.

And 77% of respondents did not review their existing lease agreements to determine if subletting was permitted before doing so.

Direct Line business questioned 2,000 UK adults – including 595 private renters – for the survey between 23 and 26 May 2023.

It came as Rightmove’s latest Rental Price Tracker showed that average asking rents for new tenants saw a 33% increase since 2019 – bumping the national average asking rents outside of London up to £1,231 per calendar month (pcm) in Q2 2023 and the average asking rents for new tenants in London up to £2,567 pcm.

“With the market having seen an increase in average rents in the last year, it is hardly surprising that a larger number of renters are tempted to offset this expense by subletting their property,” said Sarah Casey, landlord product manager at Direct Line business insurance.

“Landlords and tenants need to be aware that subletting has serious insurance implications.

“Subletting is not covered under most landlord insurance policies, so it’s really important that landlords make tenants fully aware of the restrictions on the lease and maintain that communication to help prevent any breaches.

”Tenants also need to be aware that their contents insurance is very unlikely to cover any theft or damage to personal property in the event of subletting.”


The survey further found that 23% of landlords eventually discovered their tenants’ subletting arrangements, which left tenants facing severe consequences such as eviction, not having their lease renewed or receiving a negative reference for future rental applications.

Despite the risks, 22% of respondents said they would still consider, or are already signed up, to services like Airbnb to rent out part or all their rented home in the coming year.

Glasgow had the highest proportion of subletters, with 32% of tenants renting out part of their property, followed by Birmingham (23%), Brighton (20%) and London, Liverpool and Newcastle (17%).

Given the findings, Casey said “it’s important that landlords perform regular checks on their rental property to ensure that only those listed on the tenancy agreement live in at the address”.

“Should they become aware of any changes, it’s important that they deal with the situation swiftly and notify their insurer to make sure they have the appropriate landlord insurance in place,” she added.