Caution on holiday-type lets

From Robert Ulph on October 11, 2021

There is a concern in the industry that very short-term lets, such as those with Airbnb, have potential to gain popularity among private landlords, looking for quick profits. This is especially troubling at a time when the latest PRS report from Propertymark shows the number of new prospective tenants was the highest figure on record

Airbnb has been a phenomenal success and it is now one of the most popular portals for those looking for often very short-term accommodation. All the properties and rooms they advertise are privately owned and even gardens are advertised for camping. There is obvious appeal to both those looking for cheap accommodation and those looking to make some extra income. So, in the face of increasing legislation governing the sector it is feared that some landlords will think it’s an attractive option. But there is obvious risk involved, so I strongly advise you to do your homework if you are tempted.

As with the whole travel industry, Covid hit Airbnb hard, as restrictions were brought in at lightning speed and across much of the globe. The Airbnb management took the decision to refund guests 100%, for cancellations, which had a great impact on the hosts, and they have since put in place additional measures to help protect their network, but it was a very uncertain time for many.

For some, this uncertainty of future restrictions will remain and without doubt the Covid-safe public health standards that have been introduced, meaning that changeover cleaning becomes more expensive, will be here to stay for some time.

Even taking Covid out of the equation, landlords need to be aware that, unlike renting on an assured shorthold tenancy, there will be peaks and troughs renting on a very short-term basis, potentially with an empty property at times. In addition, there is more work involved in holiday-type lets and seeing in guests staying a single night is the same as if they are staying a week or more with changeover requirements.  

Properties are also fully furnished for this type of letting, therefore breakages and damage can be an issue so the property’s condition must be checked on a very regular basis and maintained, along with gardening and other outdoor space.  While most PRS tenants, in our experience at Pennington, are looking for a home and treat it as such, very short-term guests may not have the same consideration so there is also the impact to neighbours to consider with increased coming and going.

Very short-term lets may not be as straightforward as they first appear so any financial gain may not be as significant as you may hope. My advice is to speak to a professional who can give you a full understanding of the implications, especially if your mortgage may also have restrictions. 

As always, if you would like any further discussion on this or anything else on the local property market, please do not hesitate to contact me.