Airbnb landlord fined for breaking Covid restrictions

The owner of a property used for an illegal party has been fined by Tower Hamlets Council for renting out their home on Airbnb during lockdown.

Police were called to an illegal house party at a Brick Lane property on 15 January 2021 after neighbours reported hearing loud music.

After entering the building, police found more than 40 people crammed inside, clearly flouting Covid restrictions.

Several arrests were made for breaching lockdown regulations, possession of a class B drug and assault on an emergency worker.

The party organiser had rented the property via Airbnb.

National Lockdown restrictions prohibit the use of holiday accommodation meaning that it is an offence to let a property for holiday purposes.  This includes the use of Airbnb premises let out to people for the purposes of holding parties.

On 12 February 2021, the Council’s Environmental Health and Trading Standards Service served Fixed Penalty Notices, with fines of £1,000 each, on the owner and the tenant of the premises for allowing it to be used as Holiday Accommodation in breach of Covid Tier 4 restrictions.

Cllr Eve McQuillan, Cabinet Member for Planning and Social Inclusion, said: “Letting out property as holiday accommodation or for illegal gatherings likes this during a time of national restrictions is irresponsible and dangerous. We will always look to prosecute landlords who flaunt these rules.”

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, added: “We need to ensure residential properties cannot be turned into what are essentially ‘hotels’ when we have pressure on housing supply which drives up rents in the borough. This case highlights the impact these short-term lets can have on our residents and I’m pleased that, in partnership with the police, action has been taken.’’