Airbnb is continuing to expand, with news today that it’s looking to boost its presence in Japan. Airbnb and other providers are becoming an increasingly popular alternative to traditional short-term lettings, such as hotels, and allow any property owner to open their doors as a host and share in this growing economy.
There are a number of legal considerations for property owners in England thinking about renting out their homes or spare-rooms through such property-sharing websites.
To stay on the right side of the law, potential renters need to be aware of:
- Planning laws - generally short-term lettings for up to 90 days a year are permissible in London without planning permission, however planning permission will be required for any period greater than this
- Landlord and tenant laws - there are a number of laws regulating the letting of residential properties in England, including the need for gas safety and electrical testings, that will need to be complied with
- Lease terms - if the property is subject to a lease or tenancy agreement, the terms will need to be considered carefully to ensure that letting or sharing is permissible under the terms of the agreement or other regulations applicable to the lease or tenancy
- Restrictive covenants - freeholder owners will need to review their title deeds to ensure that there are no restrictive covenants affecting the use of the property, for example restricting short-term lettings
- Insurance/mortgage terms - the host will need to ensure that short-term lettings are permissible under the terms of any mortgage and covered by their buildings and contents insurance policies
- Tax – take tax advice to establish any tax payable on the income you make by hosting
It’s imperative that hosts observe local laws and take advice on hosting short-term lettings. No one wants any unintended consequences for renting out their homes through these providers.