Landlord stops leaseholder letting out flat on Airbnb

Elizabeth Crouch Senior Solicitor

A landlord has succeeded in legal action to prevent a leaseholder letting out his flat on short-term lets using websites such as Airbnb.

The landlord was the freeholder of a building which had been converted into flats. Many of the flats had been sub-let by the leaseholders on assured shorthold tenancies, usually for a minimum of six months.

One of the tenants started using his flat to provide short-term holiday accommodation.

When asked to stop, he denied letting out the flat and claimed that, in any event, he was not prevented by his lease from doing so.

The landlord sought an injunction to prevent further lettings.

The judge found that the property had been widely advertised on Airbnb for short-term letting without the permission of the landlord.

This breached the lease, which prohibited the leaseholder from letting the flat except by assignment or underlease with the landlord’s permission. The lease also stipulated that the property could only be used as a residential flat with the occupation of one family.

The judge held there had been a breach and granted the injunction.

That decision was upheld on appeal by His Honour Judge Luba QC. He agreed that the injunction was justified because:

  • a breach of the lease had been established
  • relations between the parties had broken down
  • it had not been possible to resolve the matter by agreement
  • short-term arrangements through Airbnb-style platforms were a modern phenomenon offering new opportunities that might tempt other residents on the development.

The case was tipped in favour of the grant of an injunction by the interests of clarity and certainty.

If you need any advice or would like to discuss any of the issues raised in this article, or any aspect of commercial property law please contact Elizabeth on 01697 72378 or click here to email Elizabeth direct.

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