The platform has attracted its fair share of controversy and has received fierce opposition from some, including many cities across the globe who claim that such sites remove affordable housing from the market by converting rentable apartments into unofficial hotels. At the time of writing, a quick search reveals that there are 131 rentals available in Jersey with 119 rentals in St Helier alone. It is perhaps not surprising that the platform is well used here in Jersey, as it is of course an attractive destination, with tourists representing the mainstay of those choosing to use Airbnb. However, for all the benefits and convenience, there are some potential pitfalls that should be considered by responsible homeowners before seeking to rent out their home, room or apartment in Jersey.
Lease and title restrictions
The first matter which any potential host should consider is whether or not they have authority to rent out their home, room or apartment. What many potential hosts who are themselves tenants do not appreciate is that in most cases, their lease may not allow them to sublet their property, either at all or without first obtaining permission from the landlord. Homeowners should check to see if there are any applicable restrictions in the freehold title to their property. In the case of a share transfer or flying freehold property, the relevant articles of association or declaration of co-ownership, and any associated rules and regulations, should be checked.
A host who is in breach of the terms of their lease, freehold title or articles of association/declaration (as the case may be) risks potentially serious repercussions as any breach is likely to be serious. In the case of a breach of tenant covenants in a lease, the breach may well be regarded by the court as sufficiently serious to enable the landlord to recover possession of the premises. A landlord may also have a claim in damages for any losses suffered as a result of the breach, which could even extend to compensating the landlord for any void period suffered whilst trying to secure new tenants for the property.