Thousands of flat owners who rent out their homes on websites like Airbnb are likely to be breaking the law, a court has ruled. Homeowners whose leases state their properties can be used “as a private residence only” cannot rent out their homes short term, according to the Upper Tribunal’s Land Chamber. The leasehold ruling was made after property developer Iveta Nemcova, of Enfield, north London, was brought to court by neighbours over renting out her property on Airbnb, TripAdvisor and holidaylettings.com. “Granting very short term lettings (days and weeks rather than months) [….] necessarily breaches the covenant [not to use the property as anything other than a private residence],” Judge Stuart Bridge ruled. Giles Peaker, property specialist at Anthony Gold solicitors, said that the ruling had “huge significance” for short-term lettings companies such as Airbnb. “In terms of practical consequences, this is serious for Airbnb, mainly because the ‘private residence’ clause is a common, but not universal, feature of leases,” he said.
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