London Airbnb Host Evicted for Renting Out Council Flat

By Gary Cutlack on at

A "cosy studio apartment" in London Victoria has been removed from Airbnb, after a Westminster council investigation found that it was an illegal sublet of a man's social housing home. And he'd been running it as a holiday let since 2013.

Rather than salute his entrepreneurial spirit the City of Westminster took him to court, where a judge handed out an Unlawful Profits Order asking for £100,974.94 to be repaid to add to the man's shame of being evicted by his council landlord. The investigation found that despite the listing naming the host as "Lara" the rental site's user feedback reviews made plenty of references to a "Toby" and thanked him for his local tips, plus equally incriminating bank statement showing streams of cash from Airbnb were shown to the court, banging Toby fully to rights.

Westminster City councillor Andrew Smith said: "Along with a six-figure unlawful profit order by getting a possession order, we can now reallocate the property to someone in genuine need of a home. We're also pressing Government to introduce a national registration scheme to make it far easier for us to take action against anyone who breaks the rules on short term letting."

The council says it's currently investigating 1,500 other social homes within its borders for similar unauthorised sublets. [City of Westminster via BBC]

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