Are landlords losing out through Airbnb subletting?

Landlords are proving to be the unfortunate victims of Airbnb’s soaring popularity, with tenants subletting properties without the owner’s permission.

Cases of subletting through Airbnb have trebled in the last year, with tenants in most cases breaching their tenancy agreement.

Why are landlords at risk

A pressing worry for landlords whose tenants sublet will be the risk of breaking their mortgage agreement terms. The risk of voidance of their landlord insurance, meanwhile, is also a possibility.

And with property damage costing landlords an incredible £4.5billion annually, the added risk of damage and increased wear and tear could also leave the property owner worse off.

Growing concern

With Airbnb continuing to grow in popularity, the risk to landlords is significant. Paul Shamplina of legal specialists Landlord Action explains the growing concerns: “We continue to receive a growing number of instructions from landlords who want us to start possession proceedings against tenants who have sub-let their property via Airbnb without consent.

“There is not enough safeguarding with regards to obtaining proof from the individual who is advertising the property that they are the legitimate owner. Or, if they are a tenant, that they have consent from their landlord to rent out the property in this way.”

Subletting - be that through Airbnb or more traditional methods - isn’t uncommon. One in six tenants have admitted to subletting without consent, and the rise of Airbnb appears to be adding fuel to an existing fire.

Is Airbnb considered subletting?

In most cases - yes, listing your rented property on Airbnb would be considered subletting, with it likely going against specific wording in your tenancy agreement.

In addition to this, there are other rules that make putting a rented flat up on Airbnb risky business. This includes a rule in London that anyone other than outright owners are forbidden from using their home to provide temporary sleeping accommodation to paying guests for more than 90 days in a year.

Moral issues

Aside from the risk of breaching mortgage or insurance terms, there’s also the issue that tenants are profiting from someone else’s asset. Many who are subletting through Airbnb are making over and above what they pay their landlord.

“We have seen cases where, quite clearly, tenants are making thousands of pounds from exploiting the service to a high volume of holidaymakers on a weekly basis.” Said Shamplina. “In a recent case, it was thought that more than 300 people stayed in a landlord’s property in one year, unbeknown to the landlord.”

Have you been a victim of Airbnb subletting? Let us know in the comments below.

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