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Landlord to lose £643,000 leasehold flat after listing on Airbnb

A landlord looks set to lose his leasehold flat after being caught renting it out on Airbnb by his freeholder.

A First Tier Property Tribunal ruled that Gabriel Ben-Soussan had breached the clause of the lease which stated it was not to be used other than as a single private residence “for occupation by an individual or an individual and his family as his or their only or principal home”.

It heard that the leasehold services team at Westminster City Council received a complaint that the one-bedroom ground floor flat in Harewood Avenue, central London (pictured), was being used for short-term letting.

It had also been tasked with removing two key safes that were fixed to the exterior wall of the building. It then wrote to Ben-Soussan, asking him to stop the practice.

Airbnb booking

When a council officer visited the property, thought to be worth about £643,000, he found a guest staying there who had booked it via Airbnb for the period of 2nd-17th July. The council confirmed that the flat had been advertised on www.booking.com and Airbnb.co.uk.

The judge said the property was not used as a single private residence by an individual or his family as their only or principal home, given that it was being used for short-term occupation by a paying stranger.

He added: “The tribunal finds, on the balance of probabilities, that the respondent, whether themselves or by an agent, advertised and allowed the property to be used as accommodation for paying guests in breach of clause 18 (a) of the seventh schedule of the lease.”

Ben-Soussan failed to take part in the tribunal proceedings. He has a month to appeal.

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