Horror stories from landlords and tenants using short-term lets websites highlight the security provided by the traditional lettings market, insists the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC).
The organisation claims that landlords who let via traditional methods have more opportunities to reduce their chances of being hit with hefty repair bills when tenants leave.
In the past year, a number of high-profile stories have been reported regarding people who let through short-term lets websites, whose properties have been trashed by tenants.
One landlord, Nigel Broome, ended up with a damage bill of £12,000 after letting his southeast London flat through Airbnb. Broome claimed that his tenants held a New Year’s Eve party in his property, which led to holes in the walls, broken furniture and ruined floors.
The Chair of the AIIC, Patricia Barber, says: “No one can deny the success of outlets like Airbnb and there is clearly a strong demand for this type of accommodation. However, there seems to be an increasing number of rental horror stories surrounding this type of let being reported, and those who choose to offer their properties through these sites on a regular basis could be leaving
Short-Term Let Horror Stories Highlight Importance of Lettings Market
themselves open to hefty bills.”
Barber also knows of one tenant who rented a four-bedroom house for £3,000 per month through a short-term lets website.
The tenant was horrified to find that the oven and fridge were not working, the garden was overgrown, the conservatory had no glazing and the property was in a generally poor condition. Barber argues that the checks and procedures that those letting through these websites have to conduct are minimal, leading to some properties that are not fit for purpose being rented out.
Homeowners who let through sites like Airbnb are required to check their mortgage contract and ask permission from their lender before doing so.
Prospective short-term landlords must also check their insurance policy to ensure they are covered. Additionally, they are required to carry out a fire risk assessment and have gas safety checks every 12 months.
Most short-term lets websites offer terms, information and guidance for landlords, but they do make it clear that users must take it upon themselves to ensure they are not breaking any laws or regulations.
Barber explains: “When you compare the required checks, legislation and measures short-term landlords are required to adhere to with those carried out by someone letting through traditional channels, it’s clear there is a big difference. Tenants booking short-term lets through the internet may benefit from more flexible terms and potentially cheaper rents, but there’s no guarantee they’ll be as well protected.”
Those who let through short-term lets websites do not have to comply with mandatory deposit protection and tenancy agreement rules, and Barber believes they are highly unlikely to reference tenants before letting to them.
The AIIC states that it is measures like these that protect landlords and tenants when issues arise at the end of a tenancy.
Barber says: “It’s clear that the traditional lettings route offers more security and stability for landlords, although that’s not to say there are no risks of property damage when letting this way.”
The AIIC adds that the hefty bills received by landlords letting properties through short-term lets websites highlight the value of an inventory for anyone renting out property.
Barber concludes: “Some level of damage or wear and tear is always likely to occur during a tenancy, but a professionally-compiled inventory helps to cover landlords against damage caused by tenants. An inventory can also help to provide landlords with peace of mind throughout the duration of the tenancy.”