Hosting through Airbnb - what you need to know

cosy hotel bedroom for two

Earlier this year, a Canadian couple rented out their house on Airbnb to a small wedding party for a weekend.

By Monday morning, though, there house was a disaster zone, with damage that's taking $150,000 to fix. On this occasion, the cost is being met by Airbnb - but that isn't always the case. We look at how to make sure you're covered, as well as how to make sure you stay the right side of the law.

First, and most importantly, hosts should understand that Airbnb's Host Guarantee isn't a catch-all for all damage or financial loss. It's designed to protect hosts for damages to their own property or possessions by a guest - but that's all.

If the guest manages to flood the flat below, for example, you're on your own. It also doesn't cover damage to communal areas, and cash, valuables and pets are excluded.

As a result, you'll need to talk to your own insurer to be sure you're covered - and probably pay a little more.

There's also no personal liability insurance included in the Host Guarantee; so, if a guest sues you because they've hurt themselves and think it's your fault, you wouldn't be covered. Again, you'll need additional insurance.

You'll also need to check with your mortgage company that subletting is permissible - it often isn't, especially if the room or whole property is to be let out for much if the time.

Meanwhile, having paying guests in your home means you'll have to comply with fire safety rules. These aren't particularly onerous, or even specific, but you are expected to have considered potential hazards and done all you can to minimise them.

You'll also, of course, need to comply with tax rules. In his recent budget, Chancellor George Osborne scrapped the current Rent-a-Room allowance and announced that people would be able to receive as much as £7,500 a year tax-free.

One problem you won't need to worry about is applying for planning permission. Until recently, Londoners were required to do this before letting out a room - or face fines of up to £20,000. However, there is still a limit on how much you do it, with lets limited to 90 days a year.

Finally, you may need to expect the unexpected. Last year, a California woman was forced to take legal action after a guest refused to leave - and because the let was longer than a month, under California law, the guest had a case for squatters' rights.

Rest assured, though: Airbnb promises to do all it can to help, and UK law is rather more favourable to the host.

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The most expensive rental property in the UK
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Hosting through Airbnb - what you need to know

Audley House, a Grade II Listed Georgian property, is on the rental market for an astonishing £780,000 a year - or £15,000 a week, making one of the UK's most expensive rental properties.

It is estimated the bills will come to a whopping £125,000 a year, on top of the rent.

The six-storey mansion is spread out over 8,346 sq/ft and is worth approximately £35million. 

However, you need not worry about walking up all those flights of stairs as there is a private passenger lift with access to all floors.

The luxurious property is set in the heart of Mayfair.

Comfort cooling, state-of-the-art security and audio-entertainment technology are incorporated throughout the Mayfair mansion. 

The property features five VIP bedrooms suites.

Each of the luxurious bedrooms are decorated in different coloured decor.

At 1,500 sq ft the master bedroom is bigger than the average British home.

The mansion also features four reception rooms,a family kitchen, a gym and private walled gardens.  

The stunning six-storey property comes fully furnished with luxurious furniture, fixtures and fittings and is ready for tenants to move in.

Like all rental properties, interested tenants will be asked to hand over a six week deposit and the first month's rent before they move in. 

The property comes with a five year contract meaning tenants will end up handing over £3.9million to the landlord.

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