A legal firm has added its weight to the warning that many Airbnb hosts could be, by accident or design, breaching the terms of their leases.
Nicole Rogers from DAS Law is warning that “millions” of Airbnb hosts worldwide, including in the UK, may have unknowingly breached the terms of their leases, leaving them vulnerable to legal action or losing their tenancy.
“The vast majority of tenancy and leasehold agreements are likely to state that the property in question may only be used as a private residence. This would prevent tenants from renting out or ‘sharing’ their flat or home for short periods. It should be considered by anyone letting their property out through Airbnb to check their tenancy or leasehold agreements first” she says.
She adds that it is not just those letting that should be wary of breaking contracts - mortgage companies may also take a dim view of home owners offering short term lettings of their property.
“It would be wise for owners to contact their mortgage company before offering their home out, as they may very well be breaking their mortgage contract. Whilst buy to let mortgages allow for assured short term tenancy, ‘short-term’ is often defined as six months; clearly Airbnb stays are considerably shorter than this” Rogers says.
She adds that money received from hosting is generally regarded as income; therefore, it is likely that income tax will be payable so the host may need to declare their earnings to HMRC.
“It is possible that a host may be entitled to certain tax reliefs or allowances, so it is advisable to take tax advice regarding this” she says.