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Many of us have stayed at a property rented through the popular website Airbnb. Whether it be a cottage in the country, a seaside retreat or a city apartment. They are a great way of finding lower-cost accommodation for romantic weekends away, group getaways or business travel.

 

Over 80,000 British homeowners are earning an additional income by renting their properties out for short periods on Airbnb and with tax-breaks available it isn’t difficult to see why many people with multiple properties may consider listing their home.

 

But, what should homeowners be aware of when considering renting out their property?

 

Check your mortgage restrictions. You may need to check the terms of your mortgage before uploading your home on the popular site. Short-term renting rules can vary depending on your mortgage lender. Many prohibit homeowners from renting out their property without obtaining prior consent from the lender and others will not allow lettings at all. It is simply not worth taking the risk of breaching your mortgage agreement as this could result in fees, increased rates or immediate repayment. So always read the small print or call your lender before letting your property.

 

Is your property leasehold? If you live in a leasehold property (typically a flat, apartment or maisonette, but some new build or other properties are owned on a long leasehold basis) then you should carefully review your lease conditions. Many will not allow short-term rental or for properties to be used as a commercial hire.

 

Consider security. Renting out your property to virtually unknown people from the internet of course comes with high risk! Unlike typical long-term rentals they aren’t subject to background checks and many people will not meet their ‘house guests’ before they move in for the weekend. Be extra careful about what possessions or personal information you leave in your property. Be clear on the rules and regulations and ensure that your guests are keeping the property secured.

Planning Permission. Homes that are let out for more than 90 days per year in London, or 140 days per year outside of London, could be subject to planning permission. Some local authorities have restrictions that state that using residential property for commercial letting would require a ‘change of use’ and planning permission. It is worth checking the position with your local council authorities. You can then make a call on whether you need to restrict the days that your property is rented, whether you need to apply for permissions or whether you are free to continue.

 

Don’t invalidate your home insurance. You may need to change or increase your home insurance if you plan to rent out your property. Some providers have launched special ‘Airbnb home insurance’ packages for those that are regularly letting their space out. Speak to your provider before taking any risk, as should your property be damaged or broken into whilst being rented out, you could invalidate your home insurance which could have disastrous effects.

 

Keep on top of your taxes. Ensure that you are up to speed when it comes to declaring income and paying associated taxes. There are reliefs available and it may be worth speaking to an accountant or financial adviser.

 

Beware of unruly or rude guests. When letting your property out on a short-term basis, you may find that, depending on the location or type of property you have, that you attract large groups, hen dos, stag parties or rowdy guests! You are able to put restrictions on the types of parties you are happy to allow into your home; however it is worth being very clear on the house rules. You may find that guests are rude, demanding or leave you negative reviews. You must be prepared to deal with these situations if they occur.

 

Letting out your home could be a good way of earning some extra income and allow guests to enjoy your property when you aren’t occupying it, however we would always suggest giving it careful consideration and checking your legal position before rushing ahead.

 

For further information on property law then please contact our dedicated Property Law Team on 01256 305516 or email enquiries@lambbrooks.com

 

Other articles you may be interested in reading:

A Guide to Viewing a Property

Cost of Renting a Commercial Property

A Quick Guide to Making a Will

 

 

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice.  The law may have changed since this article was published.   Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.