Responsible hosting in the United Kingdom
We encourage hosts to think carefully about their responsibilities. Hosting offers rich experiences, but it comes with a certain level of commitment. In addition to the Hospitality Standards, here are some ways you can be a responsible host. *
LONDON: From 2017, Airbnb’s systems will automatically limit entire home listings in Greater London to 90 nights per calendar year, unless hosts confirm that they have the required permission to share their space more frequently. More information can be found here.
Indicate local emergency numbers and the nearest hospital. Provide a clear emergency contact number for yourself, as well as backup, for easy guest reference. Also make clear how you should be contacted if the guest has questions or issues arise.
Make a first aid kit easily available.
We are providing the links and suggestions below to get you started. We need to be clear: this information is not legal advice – it is only a starting point for your research. We have not independently verified the links provided, so even when a website or guide is provided by a government agency, you should confirm its accuracy.
The Government has published a guide to fire safety in paid-for accommodation in England and Wales, which you can access here.
The guide states that "fire safety law applies to you if anyone pays to stay in your property, other than to live there as a permanent home" – and provides information on how to do a fire safety risk assessment, and how to improve your fire safety measures.
Your local fire service is responsible for enforcing the fire safety laws and in some cases they may want to inspect your property to make sure that it is safe for your guests.
The Chief Fire Officers Association have produced a quick fire safety guide for hosts. It includes expert advice from fire services across the UK to help hosts keep guests safe in their homes. You can access this guide here.
Scotland has its own rules and regulations. You can access them here.
Northern Ireland also has its own approach to Fire Safety. You can access more information here.
Ensure you have a clearly marked fire escape route, and post a map in your home.
Always be mindful of your guests' privacy. Fully disclose whether there are security cameras or other surveillance equipment at or around your listing. Make sure you are aware of and comply with applicable laws and regulations.
Go through your home to identify any areas where guests might trip or fall and either remove the hazard or mark clearly. Fix any exposed wires. Ensure stairs are safe and have railings. Remove or lock up any objects that may be dangerous to your guests.
Ensure your home is safe for children, or else notify guests of potential hazards.
Ensure your home is properly ventilated and that temperature control is clearly marked and functional. Ensure guests are clear about how to safely use the heater. If you have gas appliances, you should make sure you have a functioning carbon monoxide detector, that appliances are serviced regularly, and that you are following any gas safety regulations that apply to your home. You can find the gas safety regulations that apply to England, Wales and Scotland here and those that apply in Northern Ireland here.
How can I be mindful of my neighbours?
Ensure you relay your building's common area rules to your guest. You may want to even notify your neighbours that you will have guests, and remind guests not to bother your neighbours (e.g., don't knock on their door or buzz them to let you in).
If you don't allow smoking, we suggest posting signs to remind guests. If you do allow smoking, ensure you have ashtrays available in designated areas.
Ensure you relay parking rules for your building and neighbourhood to your guest.
Remind guests about keeping noise down. You may want to consider whether you allow babies, pets, or parties. Develop a policy about guests inviting other people over, and ensure your guests are clear about your 'party policy.'
If you allow pets, ensure guests are educated about things like local parks and local customs (e.g., cleaning up after your dog). Have a backup plan in case a guest's pet upsets the neighbours (such as the number of a nearby pet hotel). You should also check your lease or other rules affecting your building in case they contain restrictions on pets.
To avoid surprises, you may want to include the information covered above in your House Rules in your Airbnb listing profile.
Important Things To Check
When deciding whether to become an Airbnb host, it’s important for you to understand the laws and regulations that apply in your town or city, and your building.
Some of the laws that may apply to you are complicated. We are providing the links and suggestions below to get you started. To be clear: this is not legal advice – it is only a starting point for your research. We have not independently verified the links provided, so even when a website or guide is provided by a government agency, you should confirm its accuracy. If you have questions, you should contact the appropriate government department, local council or agency directly, or get a local solicitor or accountant to advise you.
Hosting in London:
Short-term rentals in Greater London are subject to a planning restriction, which makes the use of residential premises as temporary sleeping accommodation a “material change of use” for which planning permission is required.
In 2015, with the Deregulation Act, the Government introduced an exception to this restriction. The exception allows residential premises to be used for temporary sleeping accommodation without this being considered a “change of use”, so long as the cumulative number of nights of use as temporary sleeping accommodation does not exceed 90 nights in a calendar year, and so long as the person who provides the accommodation is liable to pay council tax. Local planning authorities may direct that this exception does not apply to certain residential premises or to residential premises in certain areas. You should check the position carefully with your local authority.
If a property is used for short-term rentals for more than 90 days in a calendar year, the exception does not apply. You should check the position carefully with your local authority.
As of 1 January 2017, Airbnb’s systems will automatically limit entire home listings in Greater London to 90 nights a year, unless the hosts confirm that they have the required permission to share their space more frequently. More information can be found here.
Hosting in Northern Ireland:
The Tourism (Northern Ireland) Order 1992 prohibits anyone from providing or offering to provide tourist accommodation as a business (that is, overnight sleeping accommodation for tourists provided by way of a trade or business) unless there is a valid certificate issued by Tourism NI in force in respect of the premises. These regulations apply to all tourist accommodation categories.
You will need to consider whether your property falls into any of the regulated accommodation categories, and take appropriate action.
You can read more here.
Hosting in the Isle of Man:
You can find information about the rules that apply to visitor accommodation here.
Tax is an especially complex topic, and you should take time to understand the rules as they apply to you and your particular situation.
We are providing the links and suggestions below to get you started. We need to be clear: this information is not legal or tax advice - it is only a starting point for your research. We have not independently verified the links provided, so even when a website or guide is provided by a government agency, you should confirm its accuracy.
In general, money you earn from hosting is income, and will be subject to tax. Depending on the amount you earn from hosting, it may need to be declared to HM Revenue & Customs. Income from hosting may be subject to a number of different possible tax reliefs and allowances, so you should do your own research into what might apply in your case.
If you're hosting in your main (or only) residence, you might be able to benefit from the "rent-a-room" allowance, which allows you to earn an amount of income (£4,250 per year at the time of writing – but due to rise to £7,500 in future tax years) from renting out part of your main residence without having to declare it or pay tax on it. This scheme is subject to change at any time, so you should check the latest situation with HM Revenue & Customs. You can read about the scheme here.
If you're hosting in a property that isn't your main (or only) residence the rules that apply to rental income from property will usually apply. You can read about these here.
The UK government announced an increase to the Rent-a-Room relief in 2015, allowing hosts to earn up to £7,500 tax free from sharing space in their only or main home (the threshold is halved if you share the income with your partner or someone else). The measure came into force in April 2016 and further information can be found here.
Check any leases, contracts or regulations relating to your building to make sure there is no prohibition against subletting – or any other restriction against hosting. Read your lease agreement and check with your landlord and mortgage lender if applicable. You may consider adding a rider to your contract that addresses the concerns of these parties and outlines the responsibilities and liabilities of all parties.
If your property has a mortgage (or any form of loan secured against it) you should check that there is no prohibition against subletting, or any other restrictions against hosting.
If you have roommates, consider a roommate agreement in writing which outlines things like how often you plan to host, how you'll ensure guests follow House Rules, and even whether you'll share revenue if that makes sense for you.
Consider whether you should notify your neighbours about your plans to host, along with your plan for how to make sure your guests are not disruptive.
If you live in social or subsidised housing, there are likely to be special rules that apply which prevent the sub-letting of your property without permission from your local authority or housing association. You can find more information and government advice here.
We have a zero tolerance policy to the misuse of social or subsidised housing, and when brought to our attention appropriate action will be taken. Local authorities can find more information here about how to contact Airbnb.
What insurance should I get to cover my home?
Airbnb offers you our Host Guarantee and Host Protection Insurance, but please note this does not take the place of homeowners or renters insurance or of adequate liability coverage. Click here to read the terms of Airbnb’s Host Guarantee and here to read the terms of Airbnb’s Host Protection Insurance.
Review your renters or homeowners policy with your insurance carrier to make sure you have adequate coverage.
Ensure you have adequate liability coverage as well as property protection.
For more information on how Airbnb works, visit our FAQs.
* Please note that Airbnb has no control over the conduct of Hosts and disclaims all liability. Failure of Hosts to satisfy their responsibilities may result in suspension of activity or removal from the Airbnb website.