I’m thinking of renting out my home with Airbnb. What issues should I be aware of?

Vidhur Mehra

Airbnb is a hugely successful phenomenon but letting a residential property through this or similar short-let website is not as straightforward as many believe.

The Deregulation Act 2015 says that residential properties can be used as temporary accommodation in Greater London without a change in planning permission so long as the property is not rented out for more than 90 days. But landlords hoping to exercise this option need to check they are not breaching the terms of their head lease as a violation could result in forfeiture and hefty legal costs. Also, mortgage lenders require homeowners to obtain consent to allow a property to be let through these websites. Some lenders do not permit it at all or there may be stringent conditions – breaching these could mean the lender asks for immediate repayment of the loan. The homeowner should also seek permission from their insurer, or risk invalidating their policy.

This brings us to the issue of security. A constant stream of short-term tenants is a security risk for homeowners and neighbours. The homeowner doesn’t know who is living in their apartment. Someone could get duplicate keys cut and they will also know their security alarm code. This clearly makes the property owner and any future tenants vulnerable.

There can also be a wider impact. Short-term tenants don’t always look after a property as well as a long-term tenant would. While wear and tear to communal areas will also be higher, all residents will pay more through service charges to redecorate these areas.

It is illegal for renters to sub-let a property without the landlord’s permission and this is usually banned in the head lease, so to prevent tenants renting a property from us and letting it out as a business, we have a strict tenant referencing procedure to help minimise the risk.

If a homeowner wishes to rent out their own home while they are away, they must check with their freeholder, their mortgage lender, their insurer and local council and we would advise considering all these issues carefully before going ahead.

Vidhur Mehra
Finance Director
Benham and Reeves Residential Lettings