Legal requirements for Airbnb hosts in the UK

Airbnb can be an exciting and often lucrative opportunity. However, it’s not a simple case of opening up your home. Every host is bound by UK laws and rules. Some regions of the UK are stricter than others. We cover some of the most important legal requirements for Airbnb hosts in the UK.

General Airbnb regulations in the UK

Regional UK legal requirements for Airbnb hosts

Insurance regulations related to Airbnb hosting


How do I know which Airbnb rules for hosts affect me?

Common Airbnb regulation FAQs

General Airbnb regulations in the UK

Airbnb regulations are typically governed by the country they’re listed in. Here are some rules relating Airbnb hosting  in the UK:

  • Mortgage criteria. You may need a specialist mortgage for Airbnb hosting. Violating the rules of your mortgage contract could lead to issues. We discuss this in our guide for Airbnb and mortgages. Speak to your provider first.
  • Landlord permission. If you’re renting, check with the landlord as you are unlikely to be able to rent a room without their permission.
  • Leaseholds. If you own a property but not the freehold, you’ll need your leaseholder’s permission to let your room. Without this, the building owner can stop you from hosting.
  • Fire & gas regulations. Fire regulations in the UK also apply to Airbnb properties. Be sure to comply with the necessary gas safety laws in Northern Ireland and the UK too. 
  • Planning laws. Some properties require planning permission. Local planning laws can also vary according to region. Click the link to read our Airbnb planning article.
  • Restrictive covenants. These are restrictions in the title deed of the property in relation to how it can be used. Check if there are any restrictions related to renting the property out.

Specific areas in the UK place unique demands on hosts, such as:

  • Term limits. Some parts of the UK such as London and Blackpool restrict hosting to no more than 90 days annually.
  • Licences, certificates and permits.  Scotland now requires all hosts with properties in the country to apply for a licence. The UK government is also looking to introduce a similar registration scheme for hosts based in England. Other regions also require permission from local authorities before hosting. More details can be found on Airbnb’s own website here.
  • Planning. Some regional planning laws are stricter than others. Blackpool requires residential properties converted into serviced accommodation to have planning permission. In  London, Airbnb automatically limits entire home listings to no longer than 90 days per calendar year unless you can prove that you have planning permission.

Insurance regulations may also apply, such as

  • Public liability cover for Scottish hosts. Local authorities now require a minimum amount of public liability insurance cover needed in order to operate.
  • Mortgage requirements. Mortgages typically require insurance as part of taking out a loan. This also needs to adequately cover the property in case something happens (more on this below).
  • Compatibility with household insurance. If you already have existing insurance cover, you’ll need to make sure your existing insurance is happy to cover you. This applies even if you plan to take out additional cover elsewhere. 

Regarding insurance, it is worth noting that most standard household insurance policies don’t fully cover guest-related issues. Airbnb’s own cover is likewise not fully adequate as a standalone policy. Their damage protection is not insurance and their cover has many exclusions. Instead, responsible hosts should consider separate cover, such as the kind we provide at Pikl. This isn’t like standard insurance as it focuses on specific issues relevant to hosts. Check out our Airbnb insurance page to find out more.


The following is written as a general guide only and does not constitute tax advice. For any tax related queries, speak to an accountant or a qualified professional.

Airbnb income is potentially taxable in the eyes of HMRC except in specific circumstances. Here’s a quick summary of the main considerations. Take a look at our taxes for Airbnb and holiday lets tax rules guides to find out more:

  • Check with HMRC. Use their website to see if you need to declare your earnings. Tax forms are due on the 31st of each year.
  • Tax relief. Hosts can earn up to £1,000 a year without having to pay tax. The Rent a Room Scheme  provides tax relief up to £7,500 a year.
  • Business relief. You may be able to claim relief on business rates if your property is available to let for at least 210 days a year.

How do I know which UK Airbnb rules for hosts affect me?

This article is not an exhaustive list of all rules and regulations that affect Airbnb hosts. New laws are regularly made and hosts need to be aware of the latest ones that affect them. Here’s a list of ways to keep on top of these issues:

  • Use Airbnb’s own website.
  • Speak to the local authority in your area.
  • Set up Google Alerts.
  • Join an Airbnb group.
  • Use the Government’s website for UK wide regulations.

If you own a holiday let, check out our holiday let regulations guide.

Common Airbnb regulation FAQs

Do I need £5 million public liability to host in Scotland?

The amount of cover needed varies across local authorities. In most cases the recommended amount is likely to be lower than this. Contact your local authority in the first instance.

Who regulates Airbnb in the UK?

There’s no specific UK regulator for Airbnb in general with the exception of certain liability claims. Laws and regulations that restrict Airbnb hosting activity are set at national or local government level. 

If a guest makes a liability claim against you through Airbnb, the cover you get as a host is regulated by the FCA. This means that you can complain to the Insurance Ombudsman if you aren’t happy with Airbnb’s decision. The same doesn’t apply to property damage claims hosts make as this part of Aircover isn’t insurance. Taking out specific FCA backed insurance cover for hosting such as the kind provided by Pikl can give you more protection.

Do you need permission from the council for Airbnb?

Restrictions vary across the country, from limits on how often you can host to special permits and licences. Contact your local authority first if you’re unsure. It’s worth bearing in mind that even if the council in your local area doesn’t impose any kind of Airbnb related restrictions, they can still take action against any disturbances reported by neighbours. Think of your local neighbourhood and remind your guests of your house rules for Airbnb.

Are Airbnb houses legal in residential areas?

Legality in this context depends on the local restrictions in your area and your situation. For example, hosts renting out their properties in Scotland without a short let licence are probably breaking the law. If there are no regional laws or restrictions that apply then a house used for Airbnb should be legal. 

Looking for Airbnb insurance?

We offer insurance for Airbnb hosting, which includes cover for theft, malicious or accidental damage, public liability and more. By getting a quote you can compare prices for specialist cover across a panel of insurers.

Read more of our Airbnb guides

If you’re wondering how to become an Airbnb host, how to grow your business or want to learn more about hosting-specific topics, take a look at our 30+ Airbnb guides.

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Pikl Insurance Services Limited is a private limited company registered in England and Wales under company number 10449346 with registered office Suite B, 2nd Floor, The Atrium, St. Georges Street, Norwich, England, NR3 1AB. Pikl Insurance Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the FCA, firm number 773457.