If you’re renting out your property, do you know what your tenants are up to? There are increasing cases of tenants taking leases, which do not permit subletting, but then they get straight into Air BnB and sublet your property. We have clients where the tenants specifically wanted the sub-tenancy clause relaxed – it was pretty obvious why, so we advised against it.
We’ve also had clients in a shocking case, where they were letting out the property to 10 more people, putting our client in breach of their obligations as a landlord for houses with multiple occupiers (HMOs). Air BnB try to wash their hands of it and say that they are merely promoting the vacancies, and acting as an advertising agency (check Channel 4 documentary 21.09.16).
No real checks are done by Air BnB on their “hosts” to ascertain property ownership. A properly drafted Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs) prohibits subletting, but what to do if they don’t abide by the rules? Use a good managing agent who will be vigilant and will carry out property checks on the tenants. See if someone local or on site can keep an eye on the property. Consider the ground in the lease which allows you to gain access with or without notice to check.
If things go wrong, make sure you stay within the law – tenants have rights and can make life difficult. Avoid temptation for unauthorised entry and harassing tenants out. Be warned that if tenants are not willing to accept they have done something wrong and refuse to leave, it could take as much as 6-9 months to get a tenant lawfully evicted.
Air BnB is intended for 1 or 2 rooms when you are on site and have control of the property; it is not for professional landlords no matter how tempting it may be.
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