The monthly magazine providing news analysis and professional research for the discerning private investor/landlord

Leases and Short Lets With Airbnb

Jason Hunter, Partner and Head of Property Litigation and Alex Ground, Partner and Head of Planning at Russell-Cooke LLP, comment

In the UK, the short- term letting business really came to the fore with the London Olympics in 2012. Many property owners took advantage of Airbnb, the easy-to-use property "dating" agency. So successful has the model been, there are an increasing number of competitors coming to that market.

While the sites are easy to use, the legal issues are not so straightforward.

Airbnb recently announced that it will be launching a feature which bans landlords from renting out homes for more than a three-month a year period, given widespread concerns that the site is fuelling London's housing crisis. Planning rules allow homes to be used for short term lets (anything up to 90 days) for a total of 90 days in any calendar year without obtaining any new 90 day month limit to be exceeded. People renting out their homes for short term lets for more than 90 days per year are therefore carrying out an unlawful use which Councils can take enforcement action against. If an enforcement notice is served and not complied with, a criminal offence is committed and prosecution can ensue with the ability for the Council to utilise Proceeds of Crime Act legislation to recover the income obtained from the unlawful use. Given enforcement notices must be served by a Council on the landlord as well as all tenants, it is not uncommon for landlords to start applying pressure to their tenants when such an enforcement notice }is threatened.

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