Airbnb lettings prohibited

The topic of long leases and short-term Airbnb lettings has been in the news again.  Many flat owners have taken the chance to earn some extra income by letting out their property for short term lets on websites such as Airbnb. However, this has given rise to nuisance and noise complaints from other flat owners and the courts have again had to consider whether these Airbnb lets are in breach of the long lease.

The County Court was invited to consider an application by a landlord for an injunction to prevent the leaseholder from carrying out any more short term lets.  The Judge was persuaded that the Airbnb letting was in breach of two key leasehold covenants:

  1. Not to assign or underlet without the landlord's consent and
  2. Not use or permit the property to be used otherwise than as a 'residential flat in the occupation of one family only'

The Judge took the view that the injunction should be granted although he also said that the case turned on its own facts.

Leaseholders and those advising them should therefore consider the terms of the lease very carefully when considering whether an Airbnb letting might be prohibited and should:

  • Check the lease carefully - is the landlord's consent to any assignment or subletting required?
  • Check the user clauses - if the property is only to be occupied as a 'residence' by 'one family', an Airbnb letting will be in breach of this provision
  • Consider any relevant planning legislation - even if short term lets are not prohibited by the lease, a short term let of over 90 days might constitute a 'material change of use' for which planning permission is required
  • Remember that injunction proceedings, if brought, will be expensive
  • Remember that the prohibited use might even result in an action for forfeiture of the lease

To discuss this or any other property related issue, contact us.