A growing number of landlords are attempting to shirk their legal responsibilies of renting out property by advertising it as a holiday let on sites such as Airbnb, new research shows.
The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) claims that almost two thirds of all listings on Airbnb in London are for lets of 90 days or more, and this could be breaking the law which says that lets on a short-term basis can be for no longer than 90 days per calendar year.
The research by RLA found that 65% of all listings on Airbnb in London are now available for more than 90 days per year.
Almost 7,000 entire homes or flats are multi-listings where hosts have more than one listing and of these, 78% are available for more than 90 days per year.
The RLA is concerned that many landlords may be avoiding having to give tenants secure tenancy agreements, a protected deposit and meeting safety and many other regulations governing rented housing, by advertising longer lets through these holiday home websites.
The trade body also said that many existing tenants may be using these websites to advertise rooms for sub-letting without the consent or knowledge of their landlord. A survey of members of the RLA found that 15% of landlords have experienced tenants advertising a property or room on letting sites without asking for permission.
Landlords whose properties are sub-let without their knowledge could also face problems under the new ‘right to rent’ legislation as they will not have been able to check the residency status of tenants and also could unwittingly fall foul of HMO licensing requirements.
The RLA is now calling for an urgent review by the government and new mayor of London into the use of holiday letting sites and how to clampdown on potentially criminal practices by property owners and tenants.
Alan Ward, chairman of the Residential Landlords Association, said: “The growing popularity of holiday letting sites such as Airbnb raises serious questions about their potential for abuse.
“Ministers must act to clamp down on those property owners using the website to deny tenants safe, legal and secure accommodation. Landlords also need support to address illegal sub-letting of properties by their tenants.”