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Agents may use trashed Airbnb home to deter tempted landlords

A price comparison website has publicised the case of a landlord who let out his property on the Airbnb website - and ended up with an alleged £12,000 of damage. 

Nigel Broome rented his Forest Hill, south-east London, flat to holidaymakers through Airbnb. 

Broome alleges that £12,000 worth of damage - including ruined flooring, holes punched in walls and broken furniture - was caused by a New Year's party the renter held at his home.

The case has been publicised by Gocompare.com as a warning to those using Airbnb and similar sites to ensure they have appropriate insurance, but the argument may well be extended to provide a warning to landlords and owners tempted to ‘go it alone’ instead of using agents to vet tenants.

"Many people use these sites to earn extra income from their homes. But, welcoming paying guests into your home, without first checking the implications for your home insurance, lease or mortgage, could be a costly mistake” says Gocompare’s Ben Wilson.

"Household buildings and contents insurance premiums are, in part, based on who lives in a property and whether it is used for purely residential or business purposes. So, your insurer will want to know if you plan to let out your home in part or entirely, even on a short-term basis” explains Wilson. 

“They then may refuse cover, charge an extra premium or put restrictions on the cover provided. For example, theft may be excluded unless there are signs of a break in. If you don't tell your insurer about your home-host plans, then they may refuse to pay any claims and your insurance could be invalidated” he says.

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