Renting out a property as a short-term let or holiday home has proved extremely profitable for some property investors, and a combination of changes to buy-to-let tax and the rise of Airbnb and rivals has made it increasingly popular.
But this had led to concerns about properties being taken out of the long-term rental market, with a knock-on effect for renters and neighbourhoods, and, in light of the Covid-19 outbreak, some councils, including Camden Council in London, are urging more landlords and homeowners to now consider switching from short-term rentals to longer rentals, as demand for short-term accommodation plummets.
A recent poll conducted by the UK Short Term Accommodation Association’s (STAA) with its corporate membership has highlighted the severity of impact that the Covid-19 coronavirus has had on companies’ reservations and income, with the vast majority of short-let providers losing nearly all their rental income over the past three months.
With tourism adversely affected by the UK's 14-day quarantine, holiday lets have been disrupted with a number of cancelled bookings, and Danny Beales, Camden Council’s regeneration chief, now sees this as an opportunity to actively encourage landlords to put their residential properties back on the rental market.
Addressing Camden’s scrutiny committee into the response to Covid-19 last week, Beales said the crisis could be a “prompt” for a change.
“I think the things that Airbnb and other short-term let companies have said shows that that demand has exponentially gone down as tourism has sort of ground to a halt,” he said.
“What we already know is that about half the market in Camden is your regular resident who rents out a spare room or rents out their property while they’re away. But that does leave 50% of the market that is professionally short- term let and I think there’s an opportunity there to potentially persuade some of those investors and agents to think about re-entering the general private-rented sector, which obviously we would encourage to open up those homes to families.”