Websites such as Airbnb are proving a great success. But those wishing to let their homes through temporary accommodation websites should be wary of their lease or tenancy terms.
Many leases and tenancies include prohibitions for use of the property as a single residential dwelling only. Recent case law has found that short lets, such as through Airbnb, are a breach of those terms and the superior landlord can take enforcement action. The judgments have focussed on turning residential blocks into quasi-hotel accommodation.
Those using such sites and letting out their properties can therefore face injunctions, forfeiture and possession claims for breach of lease terms.
For social housing tenants there is also the possibility of both criminal and civil liability under the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013.
So with the success of such websites and the potential profits they bring, comes the possibility of that very asset being taken away... or worse in the case of criminal liability.
But Airbnb’s extraordinary success has not been welcomed unreservedly. Some residents in areas with a big Airbnb presence claim the business is hollowing out communities by forcing up rents and limiting availability for people seeking long-term lets, and importing large numbers of tourists who display scant interest in courtesy to their temporary neighbours.