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Airbnb host renting council flat to tourists fined £100,000 and evicted

Council tenant Toby Harman, 37, created the fake identity “Lara” on Airbnb to rent out his studio apartment. The flat, in Victoria, had been advertised since 2013 and received more than 300 reviews, Westminster City Council said.

Anti-fraud software had found Harman's first name in reviews and connected the listing to him. Harman's bank statements showed he had been receiving payments from Airbnb for a number of years.

He had been taken to court and, after a failed appeal, evicted and ordered to pay £100,974 in unlawful profits, according to a report in The Times.

Airbnb told BBC News the council property listing had been removed from its website earlier this year. “We regularly remind hosts to check and follow local rules - including on subsidised housing - and we take action on issues brought to our attention,” said a spokeswoman.

“Airbnb is the only platform that works with London to limit how often hosts can share their space and we support proposals from the Mayor of London for a registration system to help local authorities regulate short-term lets and ensure rules are applied equally to hosts on all platforms in the capital.”

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