Friday, 29 December 2017 18:12

Airbnb, AST's, Holiday Lets & HMO's

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Airbnb, AST's, Holiday Lets & HMO's

If a visiting worker stays in your property for 12 months is it a tenancy? What if he booked and paid for it via Airbnb and has the ‘holiday let’ contract that service provides? What if he goes home to his main residence in say, Manchester, every weekend? And if he is sharing the property with 2 fellow workers does that make it an HMO?

There is no easy answer to any of these questions and different cities answer them differently. Short-term rentals in Greater London are subject to a planning restriction, which makes the use of residential premises as temporary sleeping accommodation a “material change of use” for which planning permission is required. New York are more stringent and state that owners or tenants cannot legally rent their apartments out for short periods (less than 30 days) unless they are also living in the property. Elsewhere, many rentals are expected to pay hotel or tourist taxes. In Portsmouth any issues have yet to result in regulatory changes but some people may be surprised by the existing regulations which already apply in this area…

At the December meeting of the Additional (HMO) Licensing Governance Board we heard of a number of properties in Gunwharf which had been let via Airbnb on a long-term basis to visiting workers supporting contracts on the new carriers. An AST (Assured Shorthold Tenancy) is the norm for anyone renting a ‘main residence’ but all of these people appeared to have ‘main homes’ in Scotland or elsewhere – so should they have had AST’s or were the Airbnb ‘holiday let’ contracts sufficient?

The view of PCC was that in the absence of a particular problem with these tenancies there was no need to apply the existing rules differently or to enforce them nor is there a need to increase the regulations (and bureaucracy) involved in letting in this area, which is good news for those operating serviced accommodation.

However, where there were 3 or more workers sharing one property, PCC have stated that in their view, this means the property is operating as an HMO and needs to meet local regulations which control such properties. This means that in the south of the city, the property will need to be licensed and wherever it is, it will need PCC Planning to approve a change of use from family use (C3) to either HMO (C4) or mixed family/HMO use (C3/C4). This will only be granted if it meets the terms in the newly updated SPD (Strategic Planning Document).

We could argue that PCC are taking the easy path here and aspects of their interpretation of the rules might not stand up to legal scrutiny, but on the surface it is a logical approach. If you have issues or concerns do let us know.


Last modified on Saturday, 30 December 2017 07:27

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