Here is a question to the blog clinic from Paul who is a landlord:
Am I as landlord responsible for the social behaviour of my tenants?
The short answer Paul is no.
As a general rule, one person cannot be held responsible for something done by someone else. There are very few exceptions:
- Employers are sometimes responsible for things done by their employees in the course of their employment
- Parents are sometimes responsible for things done by their children (I think – but I am not an expert here, I could be wrong)
- Husbands used to be held responsible for the debts of their wives but that rule was done away with a long time ago
So if in all innocence you rent a property to a tenant (such as the young lady in the picture) who turns out to be a nightmare tenant who goes around insulting the neighbours, having loud parties and generally being disruptive – you are not liable for the things that they do.
Local Authorities would quite like to make landlords responsible for the anti-social behaviour of their HMO tenants, but as we explained in Part 10 of the HMO Legal Basics series, if they try to impose this on you via a condition on your HMO license, this is something that can be challenged.
The only time you could be perhaps held liable is if you deliberately put someone in occupation knowing that they were going to be disruptive. But that would technically be a very difficult claim for anyone to bring and prove.
I talk a bit about this in the context of neighbours in the post here.
So the answer is almost certainly ‘no’.