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Agency highlights danger of Christmas sub-letting via Airbnb

An online student lettings agency claims there will be a growing number of students using the holiday season to boost their income by subletting their property at Christmas via Airbnb - with the owner and managing agent not knowing.

The agency, Studenttenant.com, says this trend is likely to develop despite the majority of tenancy agreements not allowing sub-letting without the consent of the landlord. 

The agency warns that it can be dangerous to let a stranger in your house, with only a simple verification process being undertaken as part of opening an Airbnb account. 

There will also be potential difficulties with room-mates, neiighbours and the security of valuables, as well as clearing the process with an insurance company. 

On Airbnb’s site there is advice to tenants on how to speak to landlords about becoming a host and what issues need to be addressed before putting the property online. 

There is a recommendation to check the lease, speak with neighbours and learn the management rules of the building. Although Air BnB does offer a £600,000 Host Guarantee, it does not act as homeowners or renters insurance and has a list of limitations depending on what country the property is located in.

“Students can be strapped for cash and it doesn’t help during this busy season, but sub-letting a rental property is not the solution. Not only can it be a liability for your roommates and your belongings, but it can lead to serious insurance problems for your landlord, especially if they don’t know about the person renting. It also goes against most leases, which is a breach of a legal document” says a Studenttenant spokesman.

If a tenant goes ahead without permission, the website’s advice to managing agents and landlords is to firstly speak directly with the tenant. It could be as simple as not understanding that the tenancy terms are being broken. 

Secondly, if the sub-letting continues, speak with the sub-tenants and Airbnb or otherwebsite to seek further action. 

Finally, if nothing changes, legal action should be pursued.

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