I used to rent my flat out, other freeholders complained about all night parties and drugs paraphernalia in communal areas (but never any pics). So I’m trying Airbnb, first guests have been and gone, now I get the grumpiest email from another flat freeholder (5 flats in the building). She’s getting legal advice.
Where do I stand? It’s a shared entrance, she’s worried about keys being given out willy-nilly. I own my flat, should I get permission from other freeholders?
I may show you the email later…
Is there not some sort of lock on the individual partitions?
Yus, there is the main entrance which allows access to the flats, which each have their own lockable front door.
May you define the word “freeholders” for us Yanks?
kona beat me to the same question, your neighbors are the ‘freeloaders’?
a freeholder owns the bricks and mortar, and the land it is built on. Pretty much, “the owner”.
There are 5 flats in the building, all joint freeholders. Two of them are getting right uppity about my Airbnb.
"Dear Mr Barns
I write regarding your advertisement of Flat 1 in our building as an air B n B property. I am beyond angry that you have not thought to contact other owner occupiers about this in advance, particularly given the problems that occurred with your last tenants.
You will recall that the previous tenants continuously held parties, drugs paraphernalia was found in the communal areas, the re were men coming and going in vans continuously throughout the night and the building was left unsecured on many occasions. It therefore shocks me that You consider it a wise move to turn the property in to an air BnB property (at a very cheap rate!) and particularly renting it out as a property for four people.
Given the history, your lack of understanding about the impact of the behavior of your previous tenants on the security, living environment and prices of those of us who are owner occupiers, frankly shocks me. I am exceedingly concerned at different groups of people have keys to the building on a weekly basis let alone my concerns about noise pollution and care for the building. As with your previous tenants I will have no hesitation in calling the police should the need arise.
I have immediately instructed my solicitor to look at any legal redress to prevent Air BnB or other such transient rental arrangements with no references, property management arrangements.
I am aware that at least one other owner in the property feels the same as I do and is also seeking external advice.
I am via this email formally asking Priors to look at the leasehold arrangements for the property.
I am very disappointed that in such a small building, with the most recent history, that this is happened."
whether my previous tenants were unruly or not, why would that affect my current plans, ie, airbnb?
I strongly suspect the complaints about previous tenants were slightly exaggerated…look at the tone of that email…verging on hysteria.
Well unless it is strictly forbidden by agreement, I guess you can still do it. But I would be wary of being a guest booking into such a hostile environment. I once stayed with a friend in Epsom. His building was a " Square Block" building of apartments. Each place had its own entrance on each side of the square. Is this how your place is? We don’t have these kinds of buildings in the US. If you each had your own entrance, and you are the owner, I can’t see that they would have anything to say about it.
It sounds like there is a single access to the interior of the building and then individual entrances to the private quarters. So, the guests get keys to both of the locks.
A neighbor hostile toward the hosting concept can prove very troublesome. With enough effort, I’m sure they can find some small violation and stir up enough noise with the police or other government bodies to cause you trouble.
With that said, people often rattle their sabers with threats of seeing a lawyer, but never follow through.
In the meantime, it would be advisable to make sure all of your ducks are neatly in a row as far as licenses, permits, and taxes.
A strong advisement to guests regarding making sure the doors are properly locked each time would also be in order. You can also add to your list of rules that the guests will be liable for any legal fees arising from their stay, especially if you have had illicit activity going on there in the past.
I live in a building on the type you describe and can sympathise with the your fellow leaseholder who complained about you using your property for AirBnb lettings.
Previously you let you property out to tenants, who allowing for exaggeration, had late night parties and used drugs in communal areas, and left the property unsecured, putting the safety and welfare of others in the block at risk. You mention more than one other leaseholder/tenant complained to you about this.
As this didn’t work out for you, without talking to your fellow leaseholders/tenants who were understandably upset and concerned about previous tenants you allowed access to the building, you decide to let your property out to multiple individuals/groups of people.t
I don’t think the letter was hysterical.
In the circumstances the least you could have done was to talk to your fellow leaseholders about your plans to see if this is something they were comfortable with and if not, what you might be able to so, to make this more palatable before making a decision as to whether to go ahead.
Is that you, Ms C?
Have you tracked me down to this forum?
This quite a tricky case. The common entry is what perhaps makes it so ‘unusual’…
Actually, this type of arrangement is not at all unusual in the UK. It is not that dissimilar to a Condo in the US (with some differences in legal definitions) where as I understand, in an apartment block, each person/family will own their own apartment and the entrance lobby, stairs, lifts (elevators!) etc belong to a holding company? What the OP describes is similar except that the common areas are owned by an association of the owners themselves, who have bought the the freehold. This tends to happen more in small blocks of apartments or converted larger houses - Barns says that there are just 5 units at his property.
So you can understand why an owner who doesn’t seem to care about his fellow owners’ convenience and comfort could cause quite a problem as there is no property company to make any complaints to and everything has to be dealt with by the freeholders themselves.
I suggest that the OP begins to show a little respect for his fellow owners, talks to them, apologises for any of his past tenants’ behaviour and gives assurances that he will be careful and cautious about the guests he accepts - and then sticks to that. He could even show them that having tenants on a weekly basis would be an advantage as he would (I hope) be providing a cleaning service after each guest.
Would it be possible to convince them to use some sort of electronic lock, which automatically locks between uses? There could be one code for the permanent residents and you could program in temporary codes for your guests. The temporary codes also come in handy for repairmen, etc.
Well, I got another email, this time, from another freeholder, and a lot calmer. Looks like I have to give up hosting
"I hope you are well.
I’m sorry to have to contact you about this but as you know, there are some concerns about who your flat is being rented out to and Priors have been asked to look into this.
Before they do anything I wanted to get in touch to try and resolve the situation, we’ve both owned our flats for a long time now - you longer than me - and it would be good to try and keep things friendly amongst all the freeholders.
I’ve checked the Lease and unfortunately by renting your property through airBNB or any other short term holiday type lets, you’re in breach of the Lease which says it must be used as a private residence of one family only.
I’m sure this is going to be frustrating, but we need to be consistent for everybody who lives there.
I look forward to hearing from you and I’ll tell Priors to hold off from any action until I do.
Take care "
I don’t get why you have a lease if you are a freeholder … (I live in the UK too and have lived in blocks like yours). How many flats are you in your block? it doesn’t sound like many if everyone is complaining! (you can’t be in London!)
This is a very nice note. It looks like you do have to give it up. Some places are just not suitable for Air, and certainly in a case like this you cannot do it under the radar. It may be better to just retain a friendly relationship with your neighbors, and they do have you on the lease thing. It’s nice and diplomatic of them to state it like this and give you the chance to not do it before the Priors are called in (who are the Priors? Police? Attorneys? property managers?)
You know Air is sometimes a big headache and sometimes I think it’s not all that…not worth the money and time I put into it. I sometimes wish I could just reserve my flat for family and friends who want to come visit and forget the Air. Last year I made $18K on it. That’s about the same as a part time job somewhere. You know?
Helsi doesn’t sound like an Airbnb person to me. Sounds a bit ‘anti’. Not as supportive as all the other posters on this thread.
There is your answer. You are not allowed to sublet your flat. The fact that you have done it repeatedly and had very bad guests that abused the common areas is unfortunate, but even if you had super quiet guests, you are in breach of your lease and your neighbours are justified in complaining.