Can I (a prospective tenant) get some landlord opinions on an idea? (AirBNB)

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    Can I (a prospective tenant) get some landlord opinions on an idea? (AirBNB)

    Hello - I'd like to run an idea past the landlords on this forum (before I start approaching landlords in the real world) to see what you think, see what the potential objections might be, etc. It involves airbnb, a website that I assume needs no explanation.

    I'll soon be returning to the UK and looking for a place to rent in London. Rather than be someone's lodger or flatmate, or living way out in the suburbs on my own, I'd like to set up an arrangement like what a friend of mine does with a flat he rents in central London. He rents a 2-bed flat (that he uses as a 3-bed with no living room) and rents out his two spare bedrooms to airbnb tourists.

    With the money he gets from this, he not only covers all of the rent, but makes a tidy little profit each month for his trouble. It helps that his career involves mostly working from home, so he can be around at most hours of the day to greet guests, clean afterwards, etc. I should stress that he also lives in the flat at all times; he never gives his airbnb guests the whole flat to themselves.

    As far as I can see, and from what he tells me, he's got a great arrangement. Rent covered for a central London flat, a bit of a profit, he doesn't have to share the flat with any tiresome flatmates, and all of the tourists have been really nice, trouble-free people. He's been living in his current place for over 5 years. From his landlord's perspective, he's the perfect tenant: he takes very good care of the flat (after all, it's in my friend's interest to do so, since it ensures he gets good reviews as a host on aribnb) and he agrees to every annual rent increase (because it is easy to just pass it on to the tourists in the form of slightly higher charges).

    I want this same arrangement for myself when I return ie. to be a live-in airbnb host in a rented flat. However, being the honest type, I'd like to approach the landlords with this idea openly. So my question is: if a presentable tenant with good references were to approach you with such an idea, what would your response be? What, if anything, would worry you? What could the prospective tenant do to address your concerns? Or would you just reject it out of hand? If so, why?

    I'd really appreciate your considered responses.

    (I'll just say now before we begin, if your rejection of the idea is ideological ie. 'Homes are meant for living in, not extracting profit!' then please don't waste your time. You're landlords after all. You of all people should see housing as an business proposition! I didn't create the housing nightmare that is contemporary London, I'm just trying to survive and thrive in it with a bit of style :-) )

    Thanks in advance.

    #2
    I suspect this would be a breach of the landlord's lease for many flats. Perhaps you might be better renting a house.

    FTA: What happens regarding insurance? Does LL's insurer know about your friend's arrangement? I doubt he's covered otherwise.
    To save them chiming in, JPKeates, Theartfullodger, Boletus, Mindthegap, Macromia, Holy Cow & Ted.E.Bear think the opposite of me on almost every subject.

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      #3
      Thanks JK0 - can you expand on that a bit? What aspect of this would breach the landlord's lease?

      As for insurance, I assume my friend's landlord's insurer doesn't know anything about it. What problem might it cause if they did?

      (Sorry if these questions are idiotic. I own agricultural land overseas, but I don't own any property in the UK. I've always just been a tenant here).

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        #4
        Often leases say that occupants can be one family only. (Lessees aren't even allowed lodgers, never mind tourists.)

        What problem might it cause for insurance? One of the guests is injured in some way and sues your friend, place burns down due to guest's discarded cigarette, and insurer gets wind of this, etc, etc.
        To save them chiming in, JPKeates, Theartfullodger, Boletus, Mindthegap, Macromia, Holy Cow & Ted.E.Bear think the opposite of me on almost every subject.

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          #5
          I think it is a good idea from your perspective but as a landlord I would reject it. I don't struggle to find 'normal' tenants anyway.
          In addition to JKO's reasons*, there is also the additional wear and tear. You are turning the property into a mini hotel. They need refurbs and repairs a lot more often than the average rental property.
          Plus possible nuisance to the neighbours.
          It is a similar situation I had to when I once let a property to a presentable couple only to find they had moved two other families in with them, causing me a lot of extra hassle.
          If the legal side could be resolved and the property was suitable, I might be tempted by an increased rent offer (say, 25% extra, off the top of my head).
          Also look into the tax situation, it would be very easy for the taxman to spot. I don't think it is covered by the 'rent a room' scheme.
          Cheers for the heads up though, I've just checked Airbnb (and another couple of sites) for my rental properties and I'll be watching out for it in future.
          Nice idea though, hope it works out.
          Last edited by boletus; 26-02-2015, 08:42 AM. Reason: *Might also be a breach of the landlord's mortgage conditions.

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            #6
            You're right about landlords not being naive about extracting profit from a property but it's the landlords property to try and do that. Your idea is like hiring a car from an individual and telling them you'll be using it as a taxi IMO.
            "I'm afraid I didn't do enough background checks apart from checking her identity on Facebook" - ANON

            What I say is based on my own experience and research - Please don't take as gospel without first checking the gospel yourself.

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              #7
              • You'd be in breach of many standard tenancy agreements (and superior leases) which don't allow a business to be run from the rented property.
              • The number of adult residents is often limited by the tenancy agreement (and superior lease)
              • Landlord and the tenant's Insurance would probably be an issue because of the business being run from the property.
              • Planning regulations may be an issue, as residential zones are meant to be residences not ad hoc hotels.
              • BTL mortgages generally don't allow holiday lets, so a landlord could simply find their mortgage called in.
              • When you pay tax on your AirBnB income, it makes it much less profitable than it appears.



              Some of these issues are simply issues with AirBnB itself.
              When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
              Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

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                #8
                Just found a rental property on AirBnB 3 doors away from one of mine. Exactly the same house but not quite as nice.
                £35 per night.
                Around 20 nights still available in the next 3 months.
                Could easily be made into 3 doubles.
                That is a possible £2500 a month before utility costs.
                I charge £750 pcm.

                I'd want a lot more than my earlier suggestion of 25% extra rent.

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                  #9
                  There's possibly a gap in the market for a landlord who rents to AirBnB operators who want to expand but don't have the space.
                  Most of the negatives can be overcome given enough will and money.
                  When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                  Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

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                    #10
                    I am very surprised that AirBNB does not check that the person wanting to rent the rooms is the legal owner.

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                      #11
                      An American company who take commission from the rentor and the rentee for what could be a 1 night stay. I'm not surprised in the slightest. They couldn't care less if it breaks leases, T&C's or anything else.
                      "I'm afraid I didn't do enough background checks apart from checking her identity on Facebook" - ANON

                      What I say is based on my own experience and research - Please don't take as gospel without first checking the gospel yourself.

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                        #12
                        Originally posted by Wannadonnadoodah View Post
                        An American company who take commission from the rentor and the rentee for what could be a 1 night stay. I'm not surprised in the slightest. They couldn't care less if it breaks leases, T&C's or anything else.
                        Very surprised they haven't got sued.

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                          #13
                          Why should an internet platform for putting together hosts and guests be sued? Bizarre comment.

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