It is becoming increasingly common for owners and occupants of flats in city centres to try to maximise the financial use of those flats by letting them out to short term guests via websites such as AirBnB. The money that can be made, coupled with the protections provided by AirBnB, are often attractive to people who wish to either supplement their monthly income or simply generate funds to pay their mortgage.

Buy to (short term) let

In certain parts of London, for example, we have come across people who are purchasing properties with the sole intention of letting them to AirBnB guests. The rate the AirBnB guests pay will not only cover the flat owner’s rent or mortgage payments, but will leave them with a supplementary regular income.

Am I allowed to let out my flat to AirBnB guests?

The answer to this question is almost always dependent on the contents of the lease which has been entered into between the freeholder and the tenant. Many leases for new build flats now will include clauses stating that AirBnB lettings amount to unauthorised sub-lettings.

Unless landlords consent to arrangements, flat owners will most likely be unable to lawfully use their flats as AirBnB accommodation. You will be in breach of lease if you let out your flat where it is prohibited or without consent (if required). This means that your landlord could look to forfeit (end) your lease or take other action against you.

For example, in 2018, a Judge upheld an injunction that prevented a leaseholder from letting his flat as AirBnB accommodation. The Judge also ordered in that case that the historical lettings and any future lettings constituted a breach of the lease.

House party

Let’s say your lease does not prohibit you from letting your flat out to AirBnB guests. Are there further legal risks of letting your flat out to short term guests? Well, the short answer is yes!

It will come as no surprise that (particularly in the case of city centre lets and those flats which are let on weekends) AirBnB guests are not always as respectful of surrounding neighbours as the flat owners and/or long-term tenants themselves. We have in the past been approached both by complaining resident neighbours and also by those owning the flats which are let on AirBnB about the temporary guests. Temporary guests can cause noise nuisance, damage to your flat, or damage to the communal areas of your building. Such actions could put you in breach of your lease. This could lead to forfeiture action by your freeholder, plus the risk of a costs order against you.

If you are a flat occupier or owner and wish to establish whether or not you are able to let the property via AirBnB or if you are a concerned freeholder and/or neighbour of a flat being used for an AirBnB let and require advice on this, you should seek the advice of a solicitor. Our property disputes team offer a FREE initial discussion. Call us today on 0800 988 7756.

This article originally appeared in Leeds City Dweller Magazine.