Concern for thousands renting their homes on Airbnb

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Thousands of property owners using Airbnb may be in breach of their lease terms according to a recent recent ruling from the Upper Tribunal, a superior court with equivalent status to the High Court.

If the ruling does set an unfortunate precedent for Airbnb-using property owners, it's possible that the UK government could move to change the law.

The case that spurred the Upper Tribunal's Land Chamber's ruling involved a Slovakian designer, Iveta Nemcova, who owned a leasehold property in Enfield, North London, and rented it out on various rental services for a few days a week. Neighbours complained to the freeholder and the subsequent legal case found she was in breach of contract because the property was a "private lease only" — even though there was no specific prohibition in her contract.

Judge Stuart Bridge who was overseeing the case ruled: “In order for a property to be used as the occupier’s private residence, there must be a degree of permanence going beyond being there for a weekend or a few nights in the week. Granting very short term lettings (days and weeks rather than months) breaches the covenant [not to use the property as anything other than a private residence].”

In a statement, a spokesperson for Airbnb said: "We remind all hosts to check and follow local rules before they list their space. This is also made clear on our responsible hosting page, which contains useful information and resources on the rules for home sharing."

Set up in 2008 in San Francisco, Airbnb now has over two million homes and rooms available for rent around the world.

The full report can be found at: http://landschamber.decisions.tribunals.gov.uk//judgmentfiles/j1269/LRX-142-2015.pdf

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