The UK’s highest property court has ruled that homeowners whose leases state their properties can be used ‘as a private residence only’ cannot rent out their homes short term via Airbnb and other home sharing websites.

The ‘private residence only’ clause is a common, although not universal, feature of leases, with an estimated four million leaseholders in Britain.

In a landmark case brought by neighbours of an Enfield flat regularly let through Airbnb, the judge at the Upper Tribunal’s Land Chamber stated that a private residence should require a degree of permanence, and that granting very short term lettings breaches that covenant.

It is reckoned there are 42,645 Airbnb properties available for short term rent in London, over a half are listed as ‘entire homes and apartments’.

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