Overdue rent aristocrats sue Airbnb landlord after power cut to luxury London apartment

In 2019, the couple’s company was behind plans to redevelop a large apartment store in Liverpool into a 157-room hotel, but in March 2022, as the company approached the collapse, he and his wife suffered from cash flow problems.

Countess Christine told the court that she and her husband moved out of their previous tenancy ‘because there were five flights of stairs and I couldn’t go up and down things anymore’.

“We lived in total darkness”

After the electricity went out at Harland House, the block where the flat is located, she and her family were “struggling daily to try to fend for themselves”, she told the court.

“We lived in an apartment without electricity or hot water – without any amenities,” she said. “There was no lighting, no heating, no fridge, we lived in total darkness.”

The Countess and her husband had paid £3,435 a month for their rental at Woodfield Place, Maida Vale.

She told the judge that because they had been in the flat for a long time, they in fact had an “insured short-term tenancy”, giving her strong legal rights.

And she told the court: ‘We had a verbal agreement that we could stay on the property for as long as we needed.

His attorney added: “The parties expressly agreed that they would reach the agreement independently of Airbnb’s planned vacation rental system.”

But Mr Abbasi said the apartment was only ever rented to the couple as an Airbnb “vacation” rental, which conferred limited rights as a tenant.

Judge Stephen Hellman has now reserved his decision in the case until a later date.

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