A 40 year old law preventing Londoners renting out their homes for less than three months has finally been reformed. Until now, anyone wanting to rent out their home, or spare room, for less than three months needed planning permission or risked a fine of up to £20,000 - although London Boroughs have not been uniform in the way they enforce this. Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles, says the aim is to benefit the tourism industry by expanding the amount of accommodation available, as well as providing homeowners with the opportunity to make money from their homes when they are away without having to deal with all the red tape of a council permit. However, landlords should check their insurance and purchase specialist landlord insurance if need be. Prospective tenants should also be fully referenced in the same way as for a longer term tenancy to ensure they have the ability to pay the rent and there are no nasty surprises lurking (bankruptcy, criminal record, illegal immigrant etc). The Government do not appear to have clarified how tenant referencing would apply to an overseas tenant where it is not possible to make many of the vital checks that give landlords peace of mind.