News: Quarter of landlords consider short lets but only 3% have done it

Fri, 22 Feb 19

Some 24 per cent of landlords have considered letting out their properties on a short let Airbnb-style basis - but only three per cent have actually done so.

Research by the National Landlords Association - based on a relatively small sample of 494 respondents in the final quarter of last year - suggests that 76 per cent of landlords have not even considered short lets.

The NLA says short-term lets range in length from one night up to around six months, and have increased in popularity enormously in recent years following the success of companies such as Airbnb and HomeAway. 

However, landlords who go down the short lets route can find themselves in breach of mortgage terms and can invalidate their existing insurance policy.

Even so, some parts of the UK appear to be bucking the trend.

“We had expected to see a slight increase in the number of landlords letting furnished holiday properties after changes to taxation were introduced in April last year. While this has not been the case for most of the UK, it is worth noting that 20 per cent of landlords in Scotland do offer short-term lets” says Richard Lambert, chief executive of the NLA.

“Holiday lets are treated very differently to other property portfolios in tax and regulatory terms, the decision to switch may be a ‘no-brainer’ for landlords in areas where there is strong demand from temporary visitors, particularly as there is are no real downside and nothing holding them back from doing so” he continues.

But he says a shift of properties in a concentrated area to shorter-term letting can have a significant effect on the local rental market, reducing available properties for the traditional lettings sector and pushing up rents. 

“There will always be unintended consequences when policymakers don’t make the effort to understand landlords’ motivations and behaviour” says Lambert.

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