Airbnb being abused for long term lettings
Homeowners are abusing holiday lettings site Airbnb by illegally offering properties to rent long term.
They are using Airbnb and similar sites to avoid the legal responsibilities of renting out property by advertising it as a holiday let.
According to new research by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) nearly two thirds of all listings on Airbnb in London are for lets of 90 days or more – breaking the law which says that lets on a short term basis can be for no longer than 90 days per calendar year.
In total the analysis shows that 65% of all listings on Airbnb in London fall into this category.
Through advertising longer lets, property owners could be avoiding having to give tenants secure tenancy agreements, a protected deposit and meeting safety and many other regulations governing rented housing.
The research also shows that nearly 7,000 homes or flats are multi-listings – where hosts have more than one property on the site and of these, 78% are available for more than 90 days per year.
There is also evidence that tenants are sub-letting rooms through Airbnb without the consent or knowledge of their landlord.
A survey of RLA members found that 15% of landlords have discovered their tenants have been advertising a property or room on lettings sites without asking for permission. Those taking up the lets have no insurance protection should there be an accident in the property, have no protection for any deposit requested and could face immediate removal once the landlord finds out.
Landlords whose properties are sub-let without their knowledge could also face problems under the new ‘Right to Rent’ legislation as they will not have been able to check the residency status of tenants and also could unwittingly fall foul of HMO licensing requirements. They could also be contravening their mortgage and insurance conditions.
The RLA is calling for an urgent review by the Government and the Mayor of London into the use of holiday letting sites and how to clamp down on criminal practices by property owners and tenants.
Alan Ward, Chairman of the Residential Landlords Association said: “The growing popularity of holiday letting sites such as Airbnb raises serious questions about their potential for abuse.
“Ministers must act to clamp down on those property owners using the website to deny tenants safe, legal and secure accommodation. Landlords also need support to address illegal sub-letting of properties by their tenants.”