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Industry group warns of danger of Airbnb-style unregulated short lets

Highly publicised stories of property damage allegedly caused by short-let tenants using Airbnb and similar online platforms highlights the advantages of using traditional letting agents, an industry body says.

The Association of Independent Inventory Clerks says landlords using traditional methods can cut the chances of being hit with hefty repairs bills when tenants turn over.

The AIIC says the comparison website GoCompare say one landlord ended up with £12,000 of damage to his flat when it was let through Airbnb and its tenants held a riotous party leading to holes punched in the walls, broken furniture and ruined floors.

AIIC chair Patricia Barber says she knows of a tenant who sub-let a four-bedroom house for £3,000 a month through a short-term lets website, but was horrified to discover the oven and fridge were not working, the garden was overgrown, the conservatory had no glazing and the property was in poor condition afterwards.

While owners letting through sites like Airbnb are required to check their insurance and mortgage contracts and ask their lender’s permission, as well as having a fire risk assessment and annual gas safety checks, they should be advised to go further she says. 

“Tenants booking short-term lets through the internet may benefit from more flexible terms and potentially cheaper rents, but there's no guarantee they'll be as well protected.”

Those owners who let through sites like Airbnb do not have to comply with mandatory deposit protection and tenancy agreement rules and are highly unlikely to reference tenants before letting their properties, she suggests.

It is measures like these, says the AIIC, which combine to protect landlords and tenants when issues arise at the end of a tenancy.

“It's clear that the traditional lettings route offers more security and stability for landlords, although that's not to say there are no risks of property damage when letting this way,” says Barber.

“An inventory can also help to provide landlords with peace of mind throughout the duration of the tenancy.”

The AIIC – which has over 700 members – recently announced that it has joined the Property Redress Scheme.

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    How many apartments advertised on airbnb actually comply by having the correct insurance in place ?

    Most apartments are protected by a block leasehold insurance, which will not include letting out an apartment on a short stay basis, but will allow a let on a Shorthold Tenancy Agreement.

    I understand you cannot double insure in this instance, so this means that a large percentage of airbnb apartments in the UK are likely to be quite simply uninsured, including no public liability cover !

    Would you let out a property or run a B&B without public liability cover ? you would be mad to do so !

    Something goes wrong you could be sued and loose your home and assets.

    Airbnb are very good at collecting documents of prospective guests online, why don't they simply ask a property owner to scan a copy of their property insurance to them prior to listing ?

    This is a flawed business model until the insurance issue is sorted out.





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