An Airbnb landlord faces a £102,000 court bill after a judge ruled that his long-term let was effectively an AST which gave protection to the guests he had harassed.
Talha Abbasi let out his £3,435-a-month Maida Vale flat in November 2021 to Countess Christine Bolza and Count Niki Bolza, reports the Daily Mail.
They developed cash flow problems in the lead-up to the collapse of their property development company Niboco Ltd and started falling behind on their rent four months later.
Countess Bolza told Mayor’s and City County Court (main picutre) that Abbasi had repeatedly chased them for payment of the outstanding sums and left them without power, heating, and internet connection for 19 days.
They sued Abbasi for harassment and breach of lease, arguing that he had disturbed their right to quiet enjoyment.
Denied Abbasi denied the allegations and claimed the flat was only rented out to the couple on the basis of an Airbnb holiday rental, which conferred limited tenants’ rights.
But the judge ruled that the lease had gone beyond a standard Airbnb holiday let and was effectively an assured shorthold tenancy with extensive protection for tenants’ rights.
The landlord had reported the countess to Westminster City Council’s environmental health department over claims that she and her family were living in a property that was unfit for human occupation.
The judge accepted this was part of Abbasi’s campaign to drive them out of the flat and ordered him to pay £12,924 compensation plus £90,000 to cover their legal costs.
Darrel Kwong, owner at DWK Consultancy, says: “The moral of the story is, be careful who you put in an Airbnb, as you could end up with an AST, and it’s highly likely you would have done zero compliance if you needed to get possession under a Section 21.”
Picture credit: Google Streetview
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