The rise of property letting websites like Airbnb has been both a blessing and curse for landlords. One the one hand, letting out properties via Airbnb is both easy and profitable. If you own a property in a popular tourist destination, you will make more money with short-term lets than you would looking for a long-term tenant. On the other hand, there have been numerous stories of properties being trashed by tenants who have thrown parties. Landlords who don’t use Airbnb have also had problems with tenants who have signed a long-term lease and then illegally sub-let the property to make a profit.
Tenancy Tribunal Decision
A recent tribunal decision in Wellington, New Zealand, could pave the way for landlords to recover money from tenants who illegally sub-let properties on short-term letting website, Airbnb. The tenant in question did not have permission from the landlord to sub-let the property, but he had made more than $12k letting out the apartment on at least 54 separate occasions.
Breach of Tenancy Agreement
When the landlord contacted the tenant to complain, the tenant ceased paying the rent, fitted a deadbolt on the door, and left. The landlord took his case to a Tenancy Tribunal and his solicitor argued that it was unlawful for a tenant to profit by breaching his tenancy agreement.
The tribunal ruled he could recover the profits from the sub-leasing activity. This is an important decision because it sets a precedent. There is now a legal basis for landlords to recover profits from illegal sub-letting activities.