What restrictions could be in place when it comes to AirBnB and renting out your flat for holiday letting? With the summer months looming, I have listed the main issues you will need to look into before you decide to register on AirBnB.
The Lease itself
In some cases, your lease will outright restrict subletting of the property, and some will only allow you to sublet if it is on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy for at least 6 months in duration; any less is not allowed. There may be a clause in your lease that mentions using the property as a ‘single private dwelling’ only, although it can be reworded as a ‘private dwelling house’ or ‘in single family occupation’. The real implications of these phrases have been debated in the courts but the leading case states that anyone staying at a property as a holiday let is not considered to be using the property as a ‘private dwelling’ as they have no intention of staying at the property after their let is up, nor do they ever consider the property as their own residence; it is a temporary place where they stay while away from their actual home dwelling. It is therefore likely that if you have this clause in your lease, then you will be in breach of the lease if you carry out holiday lettings in the property. You should also consider the covenants within your lease that relate to noise. When you live in a flat you must not impede upon your neighbours quiet enjoyment of their flat next door, and so you need to be careful that you do not allow any loud parties or unruly guests to stay at your property where they can easily disturb your neighbours.
If you have a mortgage on your property, it is common for the mortgage offer to include a clause that says what you can use the property for. In the same way as your lease can limit your use of the property, so can the terms of your mortgage and this needs to be checked before you sign up to AirBnB. In many cases, you will need to tell your mortgage lender that you wish to use the property as an AirBnB rental, but there is no guarantee that your mortgage lender will agree to this. If you do it anyway without their consent, then you could be in breach of your mortgage and may even face proceedings to have the flat repossessed.
In leasehold properties it is mostly the responsibility of the leaseholder to insure the inside of the property and its contents, while the Landlord will insure the building as a whole. When renting on AirBnB, while the website itself does offer some form of insurance, it also expressly states that this doesn’t cover everything. You would therefore need to check that by renting on AirBnB you are not making either your own insurance nor your landlord’s insurance invalid.
Health and safety
When you rent your flat out on AirBnB, you become a landlord in the eyes of the law and are therefore subject to all of the same regulations that all landlords must adhere to, which mostly comprise health and safety laws. These are very varied obligations, and include items such as ensuring that each floor of the property has a smoke alarm and a carbon monoxide alarm fitted and working at all times, as well as ensuring that all safety certificates for the gas and electric are up to date and satisfactory, and ensuring that the boiler and water ways work correctly and are regularly tested. You must therefore check that your flat complies with all health and safety laws before you can begin letting it out even for a few nights.
If you have any concerns and queries regarding AirBnB, it is best you speak to a solicitor or licensed conveyancer so that they can untangle the intricacies of your lease and help you understand exactly what you can and cannot do with your property.