Friday 21 October 2016

Using Airbnb 'could put your mortgage at risk'

Mortgage holders who open their door to becoming Airbnb hosts could find themselves in difficulty with their banks (Stock image)
Mortgage holders who open their door to becoming Airbnb hosts could find themselves in difficulty with their banks (Stock image)

Irish mortgage-holders could be at risk of breaching their contract if they rent out their homes via Airbnb, it has emerged.

Consequences for owners who offer short-term lets could include a higher mortgage fee - or worse - if they don't have their bank's permission.

Irish mortgage and insurance providers said hosts should contact them to ensure their short-term let does not come into conflict with their financial commitments.

Banks in Britain revealed earlier this month that a clause in most mortgages means owners could even lose their homes if they let rooms without permission.

Some Irish institutions could be following a similar line.

The question over Airbnb arose after UK Chancellor George Osbourne announced tax breaks for homeowners who let out rooms on the short-term rent website.

The promise that the first £1,000 (€1,237) earned this way would be tax-free from April 2017 was largely welcomed by British citizens.

However, several Britain-based banks have been quick to point out that letting without consent could be contrary to an owner's mortgage agreement.


Meanwhile, a number of others said the same breach would apply if an owner asked permission to rent out their home on a short-term basis.

One of these lenders was Bank of Ireland, which offers mortgages for the UK market.

A spokesperson for Bank of Ireland said written consent would be needed ahead of an owner's decision to open their doors to Airbnb guests.

"Customers are not allowed to part with possession without first obtaining written consent from the bank, which shall not be unreasonably withheld," they said.

Meanwhile, an AIB spokesperson stated that their customers would not have to seek permission for short-term lets. "Customers who rent a room do not need permission, as long as the core usage is still a private dwelling house," they said.

"Where a customer intends to create a lease over the property that would impact on the title of the property, then they would need to contact the bank."

However, the spokesperson pointed out that a decision to rent via Airbnb could see a hike in the mortgage's interest rate.

The bank said that if a property is a person's home, it may apply a buy-to-let rate on the mortgage if the residence is being let out in full or part.


"This may result in the interest rate on the mortgage loan either increasing or decreasing."

A KBC spokesperson said the bank "advises customers to first check with the bank or their solicitor and verify whether property letting is permissible in accordance with the terms of the mortgage."

A spokesperson said Permanent TSB was unavailable for comment.

Europe currently accounts for nearly six out of every 10 listings on Airbnb.

Ireland had around 4,500 listings in 2015, but that number could be even higher this year.

Attempts to contact Airbnb for a comment last night were unsuccessful.

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