Protection for Airbnb landlords?

by Readers Question

16:01 PM, 5th February 2019
About 2 years ago

Protection for Airbnb landlords?

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Protection for Airbnb landlords?

The recent discussion over the future of the S21 process makes us wonder what protection does a landlord have when letting via Airbnb et al?

What happens if the guest outstays their welcome and stops paying? Airbnb could keep taking card payment until either the card is blocked or runs out of credit, but how would you get the guest out?

Unlike an AST, with an Airbnb occupancy, can we just enter the property and change the locks? Remove the guests’ belongings?

Many thanks

Richard


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Neil Patterson

16:08 PM, 5th February 2019
About 2 years ago

As far as I can tell there is insurance provided for damages, but as long as this is not the guests main residence a tenancy has not been created so they would be trespassing in the same way as you would be in a hotel.

Luke P

16:21 PM, 5th February 2019
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Neil Patterson at 05/02/2019 - 16:08
Theoretically then, if you (secretly) gave your rain residence up just before checking into a hotel, could you claim to have a tenancy and force the hotel to evict under usual LL rules?

Neil Patterson

16:30 PM, 5th February 2019
About 2 years ago

LOL might be worth a try at the Dorchester 🙂

Richard Peeters

18:24 PM, 5th February 2019
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Neil Patterson at 05/02/2019 - 16:08Thanks Neil! Your response triggers a new line of discussion which could normally justify a new thread, but this one is still quite fresh!
The following thought has probably occurred to many HMO landlords as the new licensing regime arrived on 1-Oct-2018. What if one of the five occupants in a 5-bed HMO was not a Tenant, but was a genuine Airbnb guest (and the HMO was not his/her main place of residence)?
Would the four HMO Tenants plus the non-Tenant still make up five occupants for the purpose of HMO licensing? Or would this configuration be a non-licensable HMO?
I did try to get our local authority to take a position on this a year ago, but they found it was all too hard, crossing silos from HMO Licensing to Planning and others, and so have gotten nowhere with it.

St. Jims

9:14 AM, 6th February 2019
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Neil Patterson at 05/02/2019 - 16:08
I've heard that the Police treat trespass as a civil rather than criminal matter, which if true might mean a horrific delay?

I would have hoped that an AirBnB trespasser would have the same legal status as a burglar.

Does anyone know for sure?

Howard Reuben CeMap CeRER

9:21 AM, 6th February 2019
About 2 years ago

I would also suggest that the property owner (AirBnB landlord / 'host') also protects themselves from their lender - because an AirBnB 'tenancy' is a breach of nearly every BTL mortgage contract (the Mortgage Offer that the borrower signed in agreement to, ie to fulfill the committed and contracted obligations under the lenders terms).

BTL mortgages require a tenancy agreement to be an AST of at least 6 months. It is on that basis that the lender agreed to lend.

AirBnB 'friendly' mortgages are actually now available and we have a growing panel of banks who will allow the borrower to rent out their property on that basis.

To continue to cut corners and breach the terms could be painful in both financial and credit terms.

And it's not even about trying to save money ... the lenders who allow AirBnB (and all such similar style short term lets), are some of the lowest rates and fees out there.

Keep compliant, keep legal, keep your assets (and your families and your credit) protected, and stay professional.

And (although I'm going slightly off topic there is a tenuous link here 🙂 ) on the subject of protection, keep your succession planning protected too. Do you want to leave your family (or business) with the matter of having to refinance mortgages in your name (if they can?!), or having to sell to repay the loans and maybe having to sell at reduced prices and pay CGT as well? Landlords life insurance is crucial, and could also be implemented in a tax efficient way too.

Protection is a fundamental piece of the property owner's jigsaw - tax, legal, life cover, mortgages, property insurance, and all other 'normal business activities' should all be set up in a protected strategy.

Robert Mellors

10:11 AM, 6th February 2019
About 2 years ago

I believe that there have been cases where hotel guests have subsequently claimed to be "tenants", and it can be a bit of a grey area legally. This could perhaps also affect Airb&b type arrangements, plus perhaps there could perhaps be other complications as well, e.g. would this be treated as a "guest house" type business and be subject to business rates and require appropriate insurances for hotel/guest house activities? Some Airb&b "lettings" are for whole properties, not just a room in the owner's home, so this could be more likely to give rise to claims of it being a tenancy, but without an AST in place (and all the formalities and requirements of this) then it could be very difficult to regain possession.

Dylan Morris

11:17 AM, 6th February 2019
About 2 years ago

No experience of Air B&B myself but would have thought any agreement entered into would be a holiday let for a fixed period, say a week or a fortnight. Any stay past the agreed time would be trespass. This is now a criminal offence and the Police should get involved to remove the occupiers. The Police cannot treat as a civil matter as the law was changed a few years ago.
[Also I think to be claimed as an assured tenancy the tenant has to be in situ for a minimum of six months, well that always used to be the case).

Richard Peeters

18:45 PM, 6th February 2019
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Neil Patterson at 05/02/2019 - 16:08But wait, Trespass laws might not apply after all …
I found the following on the CPS website https://www.cps.gov.uk/legal-guidance/trespass-and-nuisance-land
[s144] "Subsection (2) makes clear that the offence cannot be committed by a person holding over after the end of a lease or license (even if the person leaves and re-enters the building). 'Holding over' is a term used to describe the situation where a tenancy or licence comes to an end, but the tenant or licensee remains in occupation. In certain circumstances, such a person may be alleged by the landlord to be a trespasser. This express provision is designed to ensure that the offence does not apply in these cases. The offence only captures those whose original entry and occupation of the building was unauthorised."

Michael Barnes

0:01 AM, 7th February 2019
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Dylan Morris at 06/02/2019 - 11:17
I think you are confusing trespass with squatting.
I believe trespass is still a civil wrong, not a criminal one.

And your thought on an assured tenancy are also wrong.

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