The Rise of AIRBNB and What is AIRBNB?
According the Wikipedia ‘Airbnb is a website for people to list, find, and rent lodgings. It has over 1,500,000 listings in 34,000 cities and 190 countries. Founded in August 2008 and headquartered in San Francisco, California, the company is privately owned and operated by Airbnb, Inc.’
However, the United Kingdom scene, and that of Durham City is that this possibly laudable idea of subletting one’s property privately and without informing any owners who may have contracted the property to the individual is clearly an issue that can find its way into the Law Courts. Anyone who sublets for pecuniary gain without informing the owner, for that is what this is, is almost certainly in breach of their contract. Making a quick buck by renting out your flat, student accommodation, house or mansion may seem like a good idea but the potential consequences are alarming.
Firstly, the owner has not given permission, as they have not been informed. Then, any insurance on property and contents may be invalid, so if the sub renter should burn down the apartment (block) the owner will expect the contracted renter to compensate him/her. Any illegal activity conducted from the premises; drug abuse, theft, terrorism etc., will not make one popular with the Police, they may say that the person Aided and Abetted a Criminal Act, and much more.
The growth of AIRBNB in Durham is thought to be considerable, we have a large student population who come and go freely. Many students live in Halls of Residence, they are private property, it is believed that quite a large number of individuals have effectively sublet their accommodation. This puts other people in the Halls at risk. Should students rent out their rooms and then pocket the money whilst renting somewhere cheaper in Town then that would be fraudulent and criminal.
It is known that landlords across the Country are increasingly taking action against the abusers who are doing this and many renters of property are being warned of dire consequences should they participate in this activity.
Only AIRBNB hosts who own their property outright can be sure that they are not breaching any contractual obligations – but even these homeowners, like any other landlord, are breaking the law if they fail to take appropriate measures to protect the premises, observe the terms and conditions of any mortgages that are in place, insure the property, protect the new renter/s under health and safety legislation, and make sure that the renter is a fit and proper person.