People cashing in on Airbnb lettings are at risk of generating huge bills for themselves when things go wrong.
Experts are warning that mortgages and insurance policies could be invalid if people let their homes on a short-term basis, that’s according to a recent article published in the Scotsman Newspaper.
Household insurance policies do not normally give cover for lettings, so any claims for theft or damage may be rejected by insurance companies unless the home owner has cleared it with them first.
What’s even more alarming is that homeowner’s policies do not cover short-term letting for public liabilities, which includes when people injure themselves while on private property. Personal injury claims can run into thousands and even hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Quoting Ben Wilson from Gocompare.com, the Scotsman article says:
“[Web] Sites that are part of the growing “sharing economy” movement such as Airbnb, which has more than 1,000 properties listed for rent in the UK, allow people to earn extra income from their homes by renting out a spare room or even an entire property on a short-term basis.
“Some “hosts” use the service occasionally – when they are on holiday or staying elsewhere for a short period of time – while others rent out a spare room on a regular basis.
But welcoming paying guests into your home, without first checking the implications for your home can have disastrous consequences.
Insurers are aware that many buy-to-let landlords, particularly the so called “accidental landlords” letting their homes when they work away, or when they cannot sell, are guilty of letting their homes without a proper landlord’s insurance policy. Many are not aware of the huge risks they take with this practise.
A spokesman for the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) had said:
“With Airbnb being such a new thing, there is not really an industry-wide standard yet, so we would urge people who are considering doing this, or indeed who are having anyone different living in their house, to speak to their mortgage lender.”
He added: “If it is something people are doing for a few days a year or when they are on holiday, it is not likely to be too much of a problem, but for anything more long-term, it may be that they would need to convert their mortgage to a buy-to-let mortgage.”
In New York there are laws to stop owners or tenants from renting out their apartments for periods of less than 30 days unless they are also living in the property. A similar regime existed in London until recently.
There are also indications that the UK Government is making moves to relax the rules further, much to the consternation of private landlords, by suggesting that preventing sub-letting of rental properties in letting agreements might be banned.
The Budget Red Book 2015 states, under a heading “Support for the Sharing Economy” says:
The government wants to ensure that Britain is the global centre for the sharing economy, enabling individuals and businesses to make the most of their assets, resources, time and skills through a range of online platforms. This budget therefore announces a comprehensive package of measures that will break down barriers, create opportunities for sharing, and unlock the potential of this dynamic and growing area.
See the article: Sub-letting Issue not cut and dried
Experts Warning that Mortgages & Insurance Policies could be Invalid if people let their Homes on Short-term Basis – http://t.co/Mb6LjdgcMx
— LandlordZONE (@LandlordZONE) April 20, 2015