Despite the growing popularity of Airbnb and other short-term letting websites, less than 3% of landlords are currently engaged in the informal short-term lettings market, according to research by the National Landlords Association (NLA).
Various councils across the country have expressed concern that far too many properties are being rented out on short-lets, mainly through Airbnb and HomeAway, but the study suggests that any potential problems are regional, rather than national.
Of those landlords who do not offer short-term lets, an overwhelming majority have not considered entering it, with close to a quarter – 24% - of respondents reporting to have considered it at some point.
Short-term lets, which range in length from one night up to around six months, appeal to many landlords because they offer the potential to generate significant rental income. But this can breach a landlord’s mortgage terms and invalidate their existing insurance policy, and that may contribute to the reason why more landlords do not offer shot-term lets.
Richard Lambert, CEO of the NLA, said: “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% of landlords in Scotland do offer short-term lets.
“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.
“However, 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 and pushing up rents. There will always be unintended consequences when policymakers don’t make the effort to understand landlords’ motivations and behaviour.”