What That Airbnb Ruling Says About Letting A Leased Home
The shock wave of what lawyers call ‘the AirBnB ruling’ is rippling out to towns and cities popular with tourists, where landlords have switched from buy to lets to holiday lets.
In Nemcova v Fairfield Rents, the Upper Tribunal clearly explained how renting a home as a holiday could breach the terms of conditions of owning a leasehold property.
The tribunal was the first binding case from a superior court on the problem of tens of thousands of homes in Britain being advertised on AirBnB and similar websites in breach of leasehold agreements.
In this case, Ms Nemcova was the tenant of an apartment with a 99-year lease.
The lease included clauses that barred her from using the property as anything other than a private home and not doing anything that might cause a nuisance to the leaseholder, neighbours or occupiers of other apartments on the block.
These conditions are standard in many long leases.
Several tenants in the block complained to Fairfield rents that Ms Nemcova was renting out her flat to short-term tenants.
The company applied to the First-Tier Tribunal for a determination of breach of covenant on the grounds Ms Nemcova was not using the flat as a private residence. The tribunal found in favour of the landlord but gave Ms Nemcova leave to appeal.
Her case was heard before the Upper Tribunal.
The tribunal decided that the flat could not be considered a private residence by guests renting the home through AirBnB because their occupancy was transient, and they did not intend to move their home to the flat.
The tribunal also pointed out that this would have to be considered case-by-case.
Another point raised in the ruling was that the lease included covenants for the benefit of all residents in the block, and because they had complained, these covenants were broken.
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Investing in a private rented property can be achieved in a variety of ways. Sometimes landlords inherit a property that they then turn over to renting. Sometimes owners of properties become unintentional landlords because they are unable or unwilling to sell a property at the value the market currently dictates.