Daily Mail

£100k fine over Airbnb council flat

- By Henry Goodwin

A COUNCIL tenant has been handed a £100,000 fine – for sub-letting his flat on Airbnb.

Toby Harman, 37, had been advertisin­g his ‘cosy studio apartment’ with a hot tub in London to holidaymak­ers on the short-term lettings website since 2013.

Westminste­r City Council said Mr Harman had promoted the social housing flat under the name Lara – but it discovered mentions of his real name amid hundreds of reviews from people who had stayed at the home in Victoria.

Many had thanked him for recommendi­ng local restaurant­s.

He was taken to court and, after a failed appeal, was evicted and told to pay back £100,974 in unlawful profits – one of the biggest fines ever recouped by the council.

Andrew Smith, of Westminste­r City Council, said: ‘Social housing is there to provide much-needed homes for our residents, not to generate illicit profits for dishonest tenants.’

Last year the council recovered 24 social housing properties from fraudsters that have since been reallocate­d to locals in need of a new home.

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