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Is Airbnb Fuelling Illegal Subletting?

While it certainly provides an important and popular service, Airbnb is nonetheless proving to be something of a headache for quite a few landlords. A growing number of landlord inventory services in the UK are expressing concern over just how many tenants up and down the country are turning to Airbnb as an easy approach to illegal sub-letting.

By effectively allowing anyone with an Internet connection to advertise their dwelling in part or in full as available for rent by others, Airbnb has transformed the way the world approaches seeking and selecting temporary accommodation.  The only problem being that in a growing number of instances, tenants who do not have the right or the permission to do so are using Airbnb to sub-let the properties they are living in, as a means by which to make a profit. In doing so, they are not only breaching the terms of their tenancy agreements, but may also be invalidating any and all insurance of the building and putting the landlord in a position where they themselves may be in breach of their own mortgage terms.

A Growing Problem

Far from a rare or unlikely scenario the average landlord may find themselves facing, evidence suggests that cases of illegal sub-letting by way of Airbnb and similar services are on the up across the United Kingdom. The vast majority of landlords and largely every rental inventory service in the country is aware of at least a handful of instances where properties in their area or under their control have at one time or another been illegally sub-let by tenants.

On the whole, Landlord Action reports that over the course of the past year alone, illegal sub-letting by rental tenants has increased more than 300%.

A recent episode of ‘Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords’ on Channel Five put the subject well and truly in the spotlight, focusing on a landlord from West London who believed she had found the ideal rental tenant. Looking to let out her property for a period of three years, she found a young doctor who appeared to be an ideal match for her London home.

Nevertheless, it was sometime later that she discovered that her home wasn’t in fact being used as a residence by the doctor, but instead as a boutique hotel advertised via Airbnb. A rather extreme example, but one that nonetheless illustrates the kind of extent to which Airbnb and the trust of thousands of landlords are both being abused.

“We have had concerns for some time now regarding the protection of properties which are being uploaded and offered as holiday lets via Airbnb. We continue to receive a growing number of instructions from landlords who want us to start possession proceedings against tenants who have sublet their property via Airbnb without consent,” commented Paul Shamplina on behalf of Landlord Action.

“As well as damage to properties, landlords have received complaints from block managers with regards to being in breach of their head lease and unhappy neighbours in relation to anti-social behaviour, and that’s before considering issues regarding HMO licensing and possible invalidation of insurance and mortgage terms.”

Proactivity on the part of the landlord is largely viewed as the only realistic preventative measure against this kind of abuse, including regular property inspections and meticulous vetting of prospective tenants.

Are you a landlord, agent or tenant stressing over the inventory process? Find out how No Letting Go can remove the strain here.

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