The County Court in Central London recently considered the question of leasehold property being advertised for short-term lets on websites like Airbnb.

The Claimant owns the freehold of a former warehouse in South London which was converted into 18 flats in 1998. The Defendant purchased one of these flats, subject to a 999-year lease.  He lived in the flat for a few years, before sub-letting it on a shorthold tenancy basis which would typically last for at least six months at a time.  

In 2015, it came to the Claimant’s attention that the Defendant had taken to renting the flat out as an Airbnb.  This gave rise to concerns over additional insurance and security issues coupled with the detrimental impact on a ‘sense of community’ in the development. The Defendant denied this and asserted that, in any event, such use was not expressly prohibited under the lease.  

The District Judge found for the Claimant.  The Defendant subsequently appealed to the County Court judge who upheld that decision and granted an injunction to prevent the flat being used as an Airbnb.  

This judgement will raise significant issues for anyone seeking to Airbnb a property. If in doubt, check it out.

By Paul Sullivan FRSA

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