A leading conveyancing expert has warned the property industry to beware of dealing with leasehold apartments being bought as ideal ‘Airbnb short lets’.
Talking during an online conference yesterday organised by The Legal Training Company, expert and legal trainer David Keighley warned that a solid body of legal precedent now made it extremely risky to rent out a leasehold property via online short-let platforms like Airbnb.
The case history he referred to involved several cases including Nemcova v Fairfields Rent Ltd; Bermondsey Exchange Freeholders Ltd vs Nino Koumettou; TripleRose Ltd vs Beattie and Beattie; and Bevan House Management vs Denis Ludwig Becker.
“I think it’s fair to say that a body of law is now developing that highlights how, to an extent, leasehold properties let on what we might regard as standard residential terms [via Airbnb] are very dangerous,” says Keighley.
“Because there is a very real likelihood that the owner of the property will be in breach of their leasehold covenant.”
He then went on to say that conveyancers and agents who are acting for the purchaser of a leasehold property who is planning to let it out via Airbnb should therefore be very careful.
The cases mentioned involve two types of problems caused by Airbnb lettings – breaching a leasehold covenant that prevents ‘short lets’ or ‘business use’, and those which prevent leaseholders causing ‘nuisance and annoyance’.
Ian Smallman (pictured) of Birmingham firm Principle Estate Management told the The Negotiator recently: “The flat owner, if successfully pursued by the freeholder for breach of lease, may end up having to pay all of the freeholder’s costs to ensure they avoid forfeiture, i.e. losing the ownership of their flat.”