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How can I stop my neighbour using their house as an Airbnb?

View profile for Zoe Burcombe
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How can I stop my neighbour using their house as an Airbnb?

As Airbnbs become more and more popular in the UK, inevitably so will noise complaints.

But, if you’re one of those people affected by a nuisance Airbnb neighbour, what are your rights? And what can you do?

In her latest article, Zoe Burcombe sketches out everything you need to know to stop a nuisance Airbnb neighbour.

Is my neighbour allowed to run an Airbnb?

This depends on many factors and, even where an Airbnb is permitted, your neighbour may have to get permission to run it.

For example, if there is a restrictive covenant on their property which restricts the use, they will probably need covenant consent.

Other permissions that they might need include:

  • Planning permission,
  • Consent from their mortgage lender,
  • Local authority,
  • House insurer, and
  • If the property is leasehold, consent from the freeholder.

If your neighbour is using their property as an Airbnb and you don’t think they are allowed to, you should seek legal advice. At Frettens, our Litigation team will be able to review the title documents/lease and advise on whether the Airbnb is legal.

You can find out more about obtaining permission for an Airbnb here.

What can you do if a neighbour breaks a covenant?

The most common restrictive covenants prevent a property-owner from sub-letting, causing nuisance to neighbours and carrying out business at a property.

If you think that your neighbour is breaching a covenant by, for example, running an Airbnb without permission or by causing nuisance to neighbours with noisy guests, you may be able to take action by enforcing a covenant.

Enforcing a covenant against your neighbour can be difficult as it  depends on whether the covenant benefits your property and, if so, whether that benefit has passed down to or still lies with the original owner of your property.

What if the covenant doesn’t benefit me?

If the covenant doesn’t benefit your property, but is advantageous to another party, you won’t be able to enforce the covenant but could report the breach to the benefitting party. It is then up to them whether they wish to take action.

Our Property Litigation team would be happy to discuss your options with you. We offer a free initial appointment for all new clients, where we can take a look at your situation. Call us on 01202 499255, or fill out the form at the top of this page, to get in touch.

Related: Boundary disputes between neighbours - Your questions answered

What is the Airbnb Neighbour policy?

Airbnb have their own Community Disturbance Policy which prohibits hosts from advertising their properties as party venues and guests having disruptive gatherings. This policy aims to maintain respect in local communities and avoid disturbing neighbours. 

The policy can be found here.

Can you complain to Airbnb about noise?

Part of Airbnb’s Community Disturbance Policy allows you to report a disruption via the Neighbourhood Support function.

You can find the Neighbourhood Support here.

Can I complain to the council about an Airbnb?

If Airbnb noise is ‘unreasonable’ and ‘substantial’, you may be able to report the property to the local authority.

But, before taking this step, we would recommend you speak/write to your neighbour to try and resolve the issue in the first instance.

What about planning permission?

If your neighbour is using their property solely as a holiday rental for more than 90 days a year, they will likely need planning permission to change the use of the property.

You can use the local authority’s planning portal to see if any applications for planning permission have been submitted by your neighbour.

If they do not have the correct planning permission or do, but are in breach of it, you can report this to the local authority. It will then be up to them if they wish to enforce the breach.

What happens when you report an Airbnb?

If you wish to report a noise or nuisance from your neighbour on Airbnb, you will receive a confirmation email from Airbnb outlining what the next steps are.

You will then be assigned an Airbnb case handler who will deal with the complaint and aim to contact you within 96 hours from your complaint being made.

If the matter is investigated by Airbnb and they find that the Community Disturbance Policy has been breached, they may take steps to suspend or remove a guest, host or listing.

What happens if you report an Airbnb to the council?

If you raise an Airbnb complaint with the local authority, they will investigate if they believe it amounts to ‘Statutory Nuisance’.

Any Statutory Nuisance could result in an Abatement Notice being sent to your neighbour which would order them to stop causing a nuisance (i.e. stop using the property as an Airbnb).  

If the local authority finds your neighbour doesn’t have the correct planning permission, or is in breach of it, they may issue an Enforcement Notice. However, this is rare and will only happen if the local authority believes doing so is in the public’s interest.

If you live in a flat and you report an Airbnb to the freeholder or management company of the block, they can take steps to commence forfeiture proceedings against the offending leaseholder.

Find out how to report an Airbnb in a flat block in more detail here.

How can I stop my neighbour using their house as an Airbnb?

As discussed above, there are a number of potential options available to you to stop your neighbour using their Property as an Airbnb.

Whatever your situation, it is best to speak to a legal expert before taking any action. At Frettens, out bright litigation team can review any documents for you, make sure you know your rights and advise you what the best course of action is.

You can call us on 01202 499255, or fill out the form at the top of this page, for a free initial appointment.

The content of this article, blog or video is not intended as specific legal advice. For tailored assistance, please contact a member of our team.