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Airbnb restrictions will hit millions in the UK - claim

Any restrictions on Airbnb and other short lets platforms will hit millions in the UK, according to the people behind new research.

A government review of short-term tourist accommodation has been launched at a time when many areas in England have seen a significant rise in short-term holiday letting. 

Insurance firm Quotezone selected 2018, which it calls “a normal year before the pandemic came into effect”, against the same time period in 2022, revealing a 102 per cent increase in the number of UK holiday homes let across January to May.


The analysis, looking at 25,000 holiday homes, appears to show the short lets phenomenon most active in Yorkshire which is currently leading the market in holiday home letting, as well as Cornwall, Devon, Cumbria, and Norfolk, which follow closely behind.


A Quotezone spokesman says: “Our data supports the trend that Airbnb-style letting is increasing in England as many people rent parts of their home to generate funds. Short term and holiday rentals play an increasingly important role in the economy and are valuable sources of income for homeowners across the country. 

“Therefore, while it’s important that the government reviews the challenges presented by short-term letting on local communities and does indeed put steps in place to protect them, it must be remembered that this is now an essential form of income for millions. As many are currently feeling the cost of living squeeze, it is exactly this additional revenue stream that could help get many through this tough period.”

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    They are on a journey to destroy the PRS…. People see an opportunity to avoid the carnage and move to short let’s…. They then target that 😂😂 …. Are they out to get us ? 😱😱


    Absolutely right, Simon. landlords will be thinking now of switching to short lets.

    The best thing that those in power could do would be to make it easier, and more inviting, to rent long-term to ordinary English people, not abolish Section 21. The less restrictions that they impose, the more property that will be available and the cheaper will be the rents. The tenants would have their choice and would naturally have much more power in the landlord-tenant relationship because of market circumstances.

    The current approach will mean that there will be nothing to rent short term or long term. However, on the plus side landlords will have plenty of cash in their pockets from the sale of their properties and can enjoy spending it, instead of worrying about licensing, energy performance, tenants' concerns, repairs etc.

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    Renting out parts of their home to generate funds is completely different to taking a property out of the long term BTL market and changing it's use to a holiday let.
    Airbnb encompasses both.
    The former version has always been encouraged with the Rent a Room tax break and is a good way of utilizing surplus housing capacity to bring in a bit of extra money.
    The latter has soared since Section 24 was invented for traditional BTL and is causing major difficulties in certain parts of the country.


    Short lets are not only holiday lets or AirBNB or taking in a lodger. There are people who relocate to different parts of the country or come from overseas on a temporary basis to work here as surgeons, physicians, lecturers etc. I have let to those categories of people and given them shorthold assured contracts - although legally they perhaps should be on a common law or non-Housing Act tenancy, but it has been simpler to give them a shorthold assured contract.

    I haven't charged them anymore than when I let to long-term tenants - and my rents have been below the local housing allowance rate.

    The Short-term and Holiday-let Accommodation (Licensing) Bill will make it difficult to provide housing to short term tenants as I have described. That Bill has its second reading in December.


    Ellie - if you're giving them a standard AST for a short let then wouldn't it be classed as standard BTL letting rather than a holiday or short let anyway?


    That is right- in a way, Jo.

    However, as my tenants have their main residence elsewhere the shorthold assured tenancy is not actually the correct tenancy agreement legally - and in law, statute overrides private contractual arrangements.

    I gave them shorthold assured tenancies because I was worried about their deposits. You don't have to protect deposits when there is a common law or non-Housing Act tenancy, but I didn't feel comfortable about not protecting their deposits in case a dispute ever arose about the nature of the tenancy.

    They weren't on holiday so a holiday tenancy agreement was not appropriate, and I wasn't providing a regular cleaner, so they had a tenancy and not a licence.


    The main residence thing is bizarre. It's not a question I've ever thought to ask as my assumption is that if they are renting somewhere on an AST for a period of time that is where they will be living for that period of time. They have lived somewhere else before and will live somewhere else after. Their partner and children may still be in their before house. They may be in the process of selling their former main residence. I don't consider it is any of my business if they want to rent a temporary home because they're doing a work related thing or because they're on a trial separation. Without a fully functional crystal ball how exactly are we supposed to guess where a tenant would think of as their main residence.

    A holiday let is different as it is clearly for holidays.


    Section 1 of the Housing Act gives us the meaning of assured tenancy and says that a tenancy will be an assured tenancy if the tenant, or each of joint tenants, is an individual and that ‘the tenant or, as the case may be, at least one of the joint tenants occupies the dwelling-house as his only or principal home’.

    Generally, the applicant’s declaration of whether the property will be their principal residence will determine the type of tenancy you prepare: either a contractual or an AST.

    In the case of one of my surgeon tenants on secondment, he was returning to his main home at weekends.


    Since the SNP outlawed Scottish tenants and landlords from agreeing mutually convenient fixed term tenancies I have stopped renting to families and focus on students.

    I deliberately put in a field in the tenancy agreement for each joint tenant to fill in their permanent, principal or home address as a precaution should they refuse to move out ( perhaps because they drop out or get a permanent job).

    I'm not sure if this would protect me and allow repossession but it's certainly a precaution worth taking.

    If they said that my property was their only home then I would select someone else as there are always plenty of applicants.


    That may be a good idea, Robert.

    I've tried to look for case law on that point, Robert, and can't find anything yet. I can only find some definitions of residence from Simpson v HMRC. The extract below is from that case:

    "In Fox v Stirk, Ricketts v Registration Officer for the City of Cambridge [1970] 2 QB 463, the Court of Appeal considered whether students should be resident in the constituency of the University that they attended. In his judgment, Lord Denning MR cited a passage from the speech of Viscount Cave LC in Levene v Inland Revenue Commissioners [1928] AC 217:

    “… the word ‘reside’ is a familiar English word and is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as meaning ‘to dwell permanently or for a considerable time, to have one’s settled or usual abode, to live in or at a particular place’.”

    10. Lord Denning went on to say:

    “I derive three principles. The first is that a man can have two residences. He can have a flat in London and a house in the country. He is resident in both. The second principle is that temporary presence at an address does not make a man resident there. A guest who comes for the weekend is not resident. A short stay visitor is not resident. The third principle is that temporary absence does not deprive a person of his residence. If he happens to be away for a holiday or away for the weekend or in hospital, he does not lose his residence on that account.”

    11. Further to this Lord Widgery commented:

    “This conception of residence is of a place where a man is based or where he continues to live, the place where he sleeps and shelters and has his home. It is imperative to remember in this context that ‘residence’ implies a degree of permanence. In the words of the Oxford English Dictionary, it is concerned with something which will go on for a considerable time. Consequently a person is not entitled to claim to be a resident at a given town merely because he pays a short, temporary visit. Some assumption of permanence, some degree of continuity, some expectation of continuity, is a vital factor which turns simple occupation into residence.”

    12. These comments are regarded as equally applicable to PPR relief and were relied on by the Court of Appeal in Goodwin v Curtis (1998) 70 TC 478. In that case, the taxpayer moved into the property in question as a stop-gap measure pending finding somewhere else to live. Millett LJ held in his judgment at 510:

    “Temporary occupation at an address does not make a man resident there. The question whether the occupation is sufficient to make him resident is one of fact and degree for the Commissioners to decide."


    Would you be more protected Robert, if you provided cleaning services regularly, too?



    Thanks for the research information.

    I'm not worried enough to provide cleaning etc and I am not sure if your research applies in Scots Law anyway.

    If needed I would argue to the Housing Tribunal ( set up as part of the new legislation) that the key aim of the new legislation was to ensure tenants weren't evicted and made homeless. Since I have evidence that they have another principal home then I would not be making them homeless.

    The purpose built student ghettos have been exempted from the 2017 legislation and can impose fixed term tenancies.

    My student flats all have HMO licences but are not exempted despite this being considered before the legislation was introduced.

    In practical terms it's very unlikely that one intransigent tenant wanting to stay on could force the others to keep paying and I would expect peer pressure and guarantor pressure to ensure all joint tenants left when their courses finished.


    You are right that English law may not apply in Scotland, but sometimes cases from other jurisdictions are influential.

    However, what I quoted wasn't directly relevant anyway. Most of the cases on principal residences seem to be linked to capital gains tax, not tenancies.

    I do hope you are not put in the position of arguing anything before a tribunal and that all your tenants leave at the end of their course. They probably will.

    It is most unfair that student tenancies provided by landlords like yourself are not exempted from the legislation.

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    I’m beginning to wonder if they are employing Kim yong-un as an advisor. Your told what to do and when to do it the fact it’s your property and this is allegedly a free country means absolutely nothing.


    When S21 is abolished - and we are only allowed to evict if we have an 'acceptable' reason - who decides?


    In Scotland there was initially a list of mandatory and a list of discretionary reasons for eviction.

    However the SNP used Covid as an excuse to make the mandatory grounds only discretionary and have recently decided not to revert to making them mandatory, so a tribunal judge, probably a Council employee, will decide whether we can get our own property back from an antisocial or rent dodging scoundrel.

    Coming to an area near you.........soon!

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    Couldn't agree more, Adrian.

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    The problem seems to be people turning buy 2 let's on average housing estates into short term AirB and B lets for multiple people. Some houses have been rented basically as party houses for large numbers of people to party on quiet estates. It doesn't seem to be the people renting a room in their home that is the target.



    That's certainly the main problem in Edinburgh residential areas - along with many students now having to rent in residential areas as the previous city centre student flats are now short term lets all year round instead of just over the summer.

    The SNP brought in their legislation in December 2017 which England now seems set to follow when the current situation will only get worse!

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    Ellie. I hope you are right I think some landlords don’t have much equity in there.


    I can see that selling would not be so attractive in those circumstances. However, I don't think it is a good business decision to continue letting when letting means handing your property over to the tenants for life. Section 8 is not fit for purpose if the grounds are discretionary and it may be only a matter of time before that is the case - and even if they are mandatory, the burden of proof will be on the landlord to show that the criteria are satisfied.

    If short lets are not an alternative, then sale is the only rational option in my opinion - unless there is another way of letting, but how likely is there to be a different, good letting option that doesn't involve significant problems?


    I have moved totally to renting to students and avoiding families simply because students will want to move on after University.

    I was also able to put rents up by around 30 % due to the shortage of rental properties since the SNP legislation came into force in Scotland.

    I'm in it for the long term as the yields still beat every other safe investment and I am not willing to pay 28% CGT but I won't be buying any more properties.

    Besides I have more income than I can sensibly spend and am trying to minimise the iht eventually due from my estate.


    Well done Robert for finding a way of carrying on!

    I believe that the Government is considering allowing there to be a category of registered student let providers for private landlords in England, but that is up in the clouds at the moment.

    Possibly might have to be licensed in England in those circumstances?


    Robert, I think you and I have a near identical strategy albeit I'm in sunny Bournemouth. I will dispose of a couple of houses over the next few years however. The CGT is a pain but I've pushed out the planned sale dates by a couple of years, setting aside the net income from both of them which will cover the CGT bill. My way of dealing with the pain and not screwing up the long term plan!
    Rents have increased nicely as a result of S24 and all the other nonsense that we've had to put up with, although we've yet to encounter the ban on fixed term tenancies. I know that will scare off a lot of landlords so looking forward to the carnage that will follow!
    I've also benefited from local eco initiatives, had all the houses cavity filled and extra loft insulation, so all now at C apart from one. Happy days

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    It looks like the big boys moving in whether John Lewis, Lloyd Bank, General Accident etc build or buy to let will be exempt from the say regulation as regular traditional LL’s , courtesy of their colleagues from Oxford, Harrow or Harvard.



    I think you're right but the corporate student ghettos have helped to push up rents for normal student flats so I think the same will happen when competing with the overpriced corporate owned build to rent shoe boxes. Market forces will ensure all decent properties get a decent rent.

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    Pauline, that’s an easy question to answer, the Tenants will decide whether you can have your property back or not, it will depend on how fat you want to make the brown envelope, there’s no other system if you at thinking you can go before the 3 wise men and get justice forget it.


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