March 2015, short term rentals as temporary sleeping accommodation were only
permitted if property owners obtained planning permission from the local
authority. Section 25 of the Greater London Council (General Powers) Act 1973
provided that to use residential premises for temporary sleeping accommodation
for less than 90 consecutive nights amounted to a material change of use and
therefore planning permission was required. If planning permission was not
obtained Londoners could have faced a potential fine of up to £20,000. (It is
worth noting that this legislation does not apply outside of London.)
legislation was rarely enforced in practice and a variety of London
accommodation has continued to be advertised on Air B’n’B since its formation in
2008. During a consultation, the government sought to regularise the internet
letting market and has since introduced The Deregulation Act 2015. The Act
provides for an exception to Section 25, in so much as temporary sleeping
accommodation is allowed in residential premises, so long as the cumulative
number of nights does not exceed 90 and the person that is providing the
accommodation is the person who pays the council tax.
has been greeted by property owners looking to capitalise on the thriving
London rental market. Although the rules may now seemingly appear to have been
simplified, the majority of the London population cannot afford to buy their
own homes and therefore, as we know, the rental market is extremely
competitive. The question therefore arises over whether tenants are able to
take advantage of the added income that short term letting can provide. This
can be answered by turning to the provisions contained in their lease or
It is usual
for leases to prohibit tenants from subletting all or part of their property
and/or engaging in the business of renting property on a temporary basis.
Tenants must be sure to check the precise wording that is contained in their
lease to make sure that they are not breaching their lease covenants. If, as a
tenant, you are not sure about the provisions, it is worth speaking to your
landlord to obtain their consent to advertise on Air B’n’B rather than risk
being found out and having your tenancy terminated as a result. Tenants must
remember that the internet is a public forum and it would not be difficult for
a landlord to find a listing of their own property. If a tenant is dishonest
about the lets, this is unlikely to go down well.
have cottoned on to the issues raised by Air B’n’B, in particular regarding
potential damage to property or incidents of nuisance or anti-social behaviour.
In order to combat illegal sub-letting landlords are even looking to expressly
prohibit Air B’n’B lets in tenancy clauses.
whether you are a landlord or a tenant considering the Air B’n’B market, it is
important to think about all the implications before either entering a new
tenancy agreement or advertising your property as a holiday let. In either
scenario, don’t get caught out!