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Airbnb landlord and tenant fined for breaking Covid lockdown

The owner of a property used for an illegal party has been fined by a London council for breaking lockdown.

Police were called to an illegal house party at Brick Lane in east London last month after neighbours reported hearing loud music.

After entering the building, police found over 40 people crammed inside, flouting Covid restrictions. Several arrests were made for breaching lockdown regulations, possession of a class B drug and assault on an emergency worker.


The party organiser had rented the property via Airbnb.

National restrictions prohibit the use of holiday accommodation so it is an offence to let a property for holiday purposes. This includes the use of Airbnbs let for the purposes of holding parties.

This month Tower Hamlets council’s environmental health and trading standards service served Fixed Penalty Notices, with fines of £1,000 each, on the owner and tenant for allowing it to be used as holiday accommodation.

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, says: “We need to ensure residential properties cannot be turned into what are essentially ‘hotels’ when we have pressure on housing supply which drives up rents in the borough. 

“This case highlights the impact these short-term lets can have on our residents and I’m pleased that, in partnership with the police, action has been taken.’’

The case comes as Airbnb is in the spotlight north of the border, where the Scottish Government has had to do a U-turn - at least temporarily - over a bid to regulate short lets.



The SNP administration had drawn up a licensing scheme to give councils powers to licence the fast-growing numbers of homes advertised on Airbnb and similar platforms. 

But after opposition to the proposals, the government in Holyrood has pulled the measure and will now put a new proposal to parliament in the summer - providing the party wins the upcoming elections. 

The licensing scheme proposals followed widespread concern at the proliferation of short lets, especially in Edinburgh and other tourist areas. 

The proposals would have given local authorities the right to designate areas where planning permission was needed before properties could be let out; this would also have required stricter health and safety measures in the properties.

Some councils supported the idea but short let platforms and groups such as Scottish Land & Estates did not. However, even some supporters voiced concerns at how the regulation of Airbnb and similar self-catering properties would be separated from already-regulated bed and breakfast properties.

The Scottish Government says that if a revised set of measures are supported in June, local authorities will have until 1 April 2022 to establish local versions of the scheme, with short let owners having until April 2023 to apply for licences.

Want to comment on this story? If so...if any post is considered to victimise, harass, degrade or intimidate an individual or group of individuals on any basis, then the post may be deleted and the individual immediately banned from posting in future.

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    £1000 fines seem much more lenient than treatment of normal landlords?
    I rarely agree with SNP but an sorry they have backtracked on plans to curb short let's in residential areas in Edinburgh etc.

  • Algarve  Investor

    I think, in this case, much higher fines would have been warranted. Utterly idiotic and totally irresponsible. More to the point, who would want to be crammed in a house like that for a party at this juncture?

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    The fines should be much higher. They knew what they were doing. £1000 for a lockdown party is cheap.
    Robert I disagree. Short term Lets AirBNB in Edinburgh. Surely there is a need for short lets being a tourist destination or is it really the owner just wanting a respite from the onerous vindictive laws that the SNP (& Im sure UK to follow) has put into the sector against the honest LL. The price on anything follows supply & demand & this is what happens when gov interferes. They should devote their efforts to build more housing



    I speak from local experience. Many student flats used to be let for 9 months and the summer was let to tourists at higher rents.

    The SNP banned fixed term rental contracts and made a maximum of 4 weeks notice mandatory.

    Result is student landlords can't plan ahead and take summer tourist bookings, so student rents rose by around 30% for the best flats. Many of the lower quality flats became party flats 52 weeks a year, blighting lives of neighbours.

    Many normal homes now take tourist bookings which used to go to city centre student flats, again blighting lives of neighbours.

    Many such properties have no proper fire precautions etc. and undercut professional hotels and short term let's.

    Edinburgh Council and the SNP "government" rightly planned to tackle this scourge, oblivious to the cause being the prevention of landlords with high quality flats in suitable city centre locations to accept bookings before students deigned to give the minimum notice period permitted and encouraged. For many years, Edinburgh students enjoyed high quality flats subsidised by tourists and kept to high standards as demanded by high paying tourists.

    Result now is higher rents for students and higher rents for tourists for inferior less safe accommodation. Usual SNP debacle!


    "The SNP banned fixed term rental contracts and made a maximum of 4 weeks notice mandatory."

    Hi Robert I totally get it. My point is if it wasn't for the victimisation of the PRS this problem wouldn't have occured. I'm forgetting that some of your laws are different & I am worried myself if we are stupid enough to allow this in the rest of the country. This obviously would hit our tourist areas the same way.

    Isn't there massive complaints from would be Edinburgh tenants & students to this latest change in law which is plain to see affects them negatively as well as the LL



    They seem to think the SNP are on their side and believe the anti landlord propaganda.

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    • 22 February 2021 14:33 PM

    5 years prison and £100,000.01 would be reasonable and would send the message that is so much needed for these IDIOTS to stop........


    u r barmy--spammer?

  • icon

    why? no evidence it makes any difference.

    scam to outlaw bnb


    Normal b&b is already regulated but many cowboys dodge the regulations, putting boarders lives at risk.
    The self catering tourist situation in Edinburgh is unique in the summer and now needs drastic action, or reverting to allowing fixed term lets so tourists can rent student flats in summer.

    The SNP were warned but dogma comes first for them always.

  • Fredy Jones

    The NINJA generation don’t care about CCJs

    no income no job and no assets

    the council will house them and pay them them enough to keep smoking, drinking, eating and watching Netflix

  • icon

    I don't go along with this and don't know why the LL was fined at all especially if its about the Party, it wasn't his Party as I understand it and he is completely powerless to act in any case. I had all that Police visiting the Property again & again, Council coming out late at Night measuring the noise. I know one of the girls had issues and shouted a great deal for what ever reason. I always responded to the Complaints in person and by Letters to Tenants & Council. I think the Council should have been brought to book and fined for taking away LL's rights. The LL in effect is barred from the Property at the discretion of the occupant. This never happened in decades gone by when the owner had control of his property you can't take away Control of the property and then fine LL for not being in control, maybe some one can remind me what rights we have I would love to hear.

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    I have been reading in the press about Rents falling and experienced this myself and a glut of vacant Property in London, so how can John Briggs Mayor of Tower Hamlets claim Pressure on Housing and high rents and get away with it.


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