3 Years Running: Buy-To-Let Legal Services Award
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Over the last few moths there has been a lot of speculation online and within the media about a new property service Airbnb. On the surface it seems like a great idea.The Silicon Valley startup, founded in 2008, lets people list their spare rooms, or even their entire home, for holiday leases online, opening up thousands of new places to stay in cities across the world. It appears to offer individuals the opportunity to rent out their property for a bit of extra cash risk-free without the need to involve companies or professionals. Very quickly it has gained significant media exposure and is seen a positive example of the new ‘sharing economy’ with the internet powering its growth via the use of apps and mobile technology.
But the site’s listings may not be what they first seem. According to a recent survey conducted by The Guardian many of the properties are being rented out by landlords and even tenants without the knowledge of the main landlord. The rise of these semi-professional landlords is causing concern among not only within the hotel Industry but is potentially an extra headache for those struggling to get on the capital’s crowded housing ladder. An ever decreasing pool of property is being taken off the market to cater for short-term lets.
The analysis of more than 13,000 Airbnb listings in London – by far the site's biggest UK market – shows more than 6,600 are leasing out an entire home or flat, rather than a spare room. More than 1,500 people listing properties on the site have multiple listings, with 180 listing five or more properties or rooms across the greater London area. The issues caused by this are significant. Firstly several highly publicised cases have resulted in incidents of anti-social behaviour and criminal damage resulting in 10’s of £1000’ s of pounds to landlord's property. Many have been unaware that their tenants without their permission, or knowledge, have been effectively sub-letting the landlords property resulting in significant property damage and legal problems. Secondly this has caused huge issues with the local authorities and councils who are looking to regulate this type of ’short term letting’.Thirdly those landlords who have returned to substantially damaged properties have found that their insurance will refuse to cover the damage to the property, and may also have lost furniture and other possessions, to individuals they cannot trace and have no realistic chance of recovery. Conversely those landlords who have sought to capitalise on this new phenomenon to minimise void periods have also experienced similar problems.
We always urge all landlords to ensure they have a robust legal framework to deal with all property rentals.This should always include tenant referencing and caveats that ensure that their property is protected via a solid and binding legal agreement. No matter how enticing the opportunities offered by new technology are landlords ignore this at their peril.
Landlord action was set up by landlords for landlords with problem tenants. That is, tenants who are in rent arrears or break some other part of a tenancy agreement. Landlord & tenant law is a specialist area and we found solicitor charges were too much and too vague. When you have a bad tenant you want to evict them fast. Any landlord would want a bad tenant out. they want advice and help with the law. And that's what we do. We are experts in this area and unlike solicitors, we only act for landlords, never tenants. And we'll help recover the outstanding rent. Our free advice line is open to all landlords and we have carried out thousands of evictions.