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Airbnb says landlords should allow tenants to sub-let rooms

Airbnb says the large majority of private tenants want to boost their income, including through sub-letting rooms in their homes.

In a statement issued on the back of the Renters Reform Bill debates over tenant finances, Airbnb says that as winter and the prospect of increasing energy bills approaches, the cost of living is set to once again increase for many households in the UK. 

And it claims that for renters, this is compounded by an increase in rental prices, with two thirds of renters responding to an Airbnb survey claiming they are experiencing a rent increase in the last two years.


As a result, almost 80 per cent of renters are looking for ways to supplement their income amidst rising living costs, according to the Airbnb study.

The short lets platform says in its statement: “Very few renters, however, are able to share space in their homes as a means to make ends meet. In fact, over half (55 per cent) of renters say they would share a spare room if they were allowed to do so, but only a fraction say that they believe their landlord permits it. 


“For many homeowners, sharing a spare room on Airbnb is a lifeline in challenging economic times, providing a secondary source of income that helps families make ends meet. Almost four in 10 Hosts on Airbnb in the UK say their hosting income helps them afford their own home (39 per cent) and the rising cost of living (38 per cent). 

“The idea for Airbnb was born after the founders needed a way to earn additional income, following an increase in their rent. Today, the average UK private room Host earns £2,200 last year, the equivalent to almost two months worth of the average UK rent. Opening up the opportunity for renters to let their spare rooms would offer an invaluable financial boost, helping renters stay on top of rental and living costs and in the homes they live in.” 

The research also looked into other things renters wish they could do,  including wanting to be able to decorate their home (46 per cent), wanting to be able to choose the tradespeople who service their home (24 per cent), and being able to change furniture (18 per cent). 

Amanda Cupples, General Manager of UK & Northern Europe at Airbnb says:Airbnb was born during an economic crisis when our founders couldn’t afford to cover an increase to their rent. Since then, Airbnb has become an economic lifeline to Hosts and yet many renters in the UK cannot access the same opportunity. Sharing a spare room on a short-term basis can allow renters to boost their income and help them with the increasing cost of living. We encourage renters to check the terms of their tenancy agreements and with their landlord to see if home sharing is a possibility.’ 

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    "but only a fraction say that they believe their landlord permits it". So they haven't asked. They just make wild assumptions with no foundation.

    Some landlords would allow it, others wouldn't for various reasons. Mortgage terms may prohibit it, or the lease for a flat may prohibit it. There may be an additional insurance cost.

    If it is a way of a good tenant being able to continue living in a property and there are no outside factors prohibiting it I personally would be inclined to allow it as long as they use appropriate paperwork and do any Right to Rent checks and keep me informed. For a less than good tenant I wouldn't be so accommodating. Right now one of mine has a lodger and 3 others have boyfriends or adult children as permitted occupiers. I have allowed an HMO tenant to sublet for a couple of months while he was abroad as long as he had the approval of all housemates and in the past I have suggested a couple of tenants consider hosting foreign language students when they've had their hours at work cut.


    Jo- spot on with those comments. Some a yes some a No.


    I'm with you on this Jo. If one of my long term tenants wanted to do this then I would agree. I would ensure that they are advised on the rules, which do not affect licensing and the like suggested below. Main principle being like a hotel, it's not their main home.
    I would add that this is a choice and every Landlord should be able to say yes or no, as they decide.

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    Absolute no! This would be no different to an HMO but the lead tenant will make all the money whilst taking no risk being able to walk out at any time. The sub let tenant would inherit rights that we the property owner Landlord will have to sort when it all goes wrong and when you are completely in the proverbial the council will come along and say where’s your licence £30k please.
    Tenants wanting to chose their contractors but we pay the bill - don’t think so. AirBnb need to stay out of our business & mind their own. They are just promoting this as they are scared of the next gov restricting their business. If a tenant wants to rent out a spare room then best suggestion is to buy their own house, rent as many rooms as you want

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    I have had enough of this interference I want the house to be occupied by the people I let to. I need to know who is living in my Property and require by law to know.
    Following the most recent episode of sub-letting where the lead Tenant was making more money than me out of the house, this is the thin end of the wedge. Ok I know it sometimes goes on and now they want to make it official.
    We have licensing laws restricting occupancy this will blow the whole thing out of the water Tenants Sub-letting the spare capacity that you as landlords are not to have.
    Suppose you have a 3 up 2 down house, then you’ll lucky to get a license for 5, possibly even the Box room won’t comply if less than 6.7 m2 for an adult person, if you want more occupants you’ll need second bathroom and double kitchen or second set of cooking facilities where is the space for this having complied with room sizes / standards, (don’t know what rooms the dog will be in). So what are they going to be Subletting are they going to move out themselves.
    My house now stands idle better vacant than full of trouble, did someone say there’s a homeless Crisis, Well done.

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    I think the idea has problems, too.

    1. The licensing issue which Jahan and Michael has mentioned. I have a flat in an additional licensing area. I don't have a licence on that two bedroom flat. On occasions one of the bedrooms has been left empty because I have let the flat to one person or to a couple. If those people had brought in a couple to live in the other bedroom then the flat would have needed a licence.

    2. The exploitation issue. I am aware of an instance when my father was a landlord where a Japanese tenant let the sitting room and a bedroom to two Japanese girls charging them much more each than the rent for the entire flat. I mention the nationality i.e. Japanese because at the time they seem to have been being overcharged as a race in London at the time and therefore were ripe for exploitation by the unscrupulous tenant.

    3. The tenants don't get on. I am aware that this has happened in the past when original tenants have sub-let a room to a stranger. It got to the point where the original tenant feared that the "lodger" was going to lock them out of the flat. Bringing a stranger into your own home is very high risk for a number of reasons, not least because they won't have been referenced.

    4. The sub-tenant doesn't have anywhere to go at the end of the tenancy agreement of the original tenant. That sub-tenant may then become the equivalent of a squatter.

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    Eeerrmm 🤔 that would be a big fat NO 😳

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    What a stupid suggestion. Who would take ultimate responsibility for breakages , damage etc, who would ensure the room / premises are clean, because it would be highly unlikely to be the tenant .
    The property should be occupied by the person / family etc to whom the landlord has agreed to rent it to.


    Exactly this.

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    Most tenants only rent a house big enough for themselves so don't have spare rooms!


    Yes, if you have a spare room, rent a smaller cheaper property instead.


    I believe that is what is generally happening now, John.


    A scenario that must be very frequent is when the eldest child goes to university or tries leaving home. How many families would want to downsize just because they're underoccupying maybe for only a short period? The odd bit of homestay or Airbnb could make a significance to a household income.

  • Franklin I

    -The standard AST agreement prohibits subletting in the PRS to safeguard all parties involved.
    - Various stakeholders, including freeholders, managing agents, and mortgage lenders, often restrict short-term lets in high-rise apartment blocks to ensure compliance, preserve the property's residential character, and protect residents.
    - Concerns associated with subletting include landlords licensing requirements, potential exploitation, tenant conflicts, impact of owner occupiers, insurance and a lack of stability for sub-tenants.
    - Many managing agents require tenants to obtain consent to lease, involving the submission of a form and payment of an annual fee to maintain accurate records and effective property management.
    - The Grenfell disaster highlights the need for stringent safety measures, making it crucial to exercise caution regarding subletting practices to uphold fire safety protocols, evacuation procedures, and building security.
    - Encouraging subletting without considering landord licensing, safety regulations, and building security is not advisable, in addition to providing "Right to Rent documents.
    - Adhering to existing regulations and evaluating proposed changes to subletting practices in light of safety concerns is essential for the integrity of the housing market and residents' well-being.

    In short, I agree that this is a very stupid, reckless and irresponsible suggestion.

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    • K B
    • 30 October 2023 07:49 AM

    Stupid, simply Stupid

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    Surely its none of their business and they should keep their nose out. All they have done is make things much worse for long term tenants.

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    People who sublet only do it to subsidise their rent or to make profit at the landlords expense. Subletting Leeds to overcrowding deteriorating the property, increasing chance of mould, vermin etc.
    Absolutely NO.

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    AirBnB is an online platform that provides no accommodation whatsoever and is like an economic leech similar to bookingdotcom Uber and Amazon marketplace. As their platforms causes so much controversy it’s a good idea to keep quiet. However tenants are not the property owners and therefore have limited rights. Here is a novel idea, buy your own property and do with it what you want. Until then pay the rent and accept it’s not yours, however you feel about it

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    • A JR
    • 30 October 2023 08:56 AM

    Generally I agree this is a risky strategy. However there maybe be some scope given a tight contract and trustworthy tenant. The contract rent should be somewhat higher than the market rent to compensate the LL for the additional risk. On balance though, I would pass on this one.

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    Unless the tenant can guarantee that the room would only ever be let to single people, this would create an illegal HMO and it's the landlord who would be prosecuted.

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    I found out a tennant started doing this end of August , they are now sofa suffering and have a larger family that are to move in in a few weeks.

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    What has the PRS got to do with Airbnb?
    They have nothing to do with tenancies and nobody asked for or needs their input.

    Who next is going to give their demands on what Landlords must do?
    Hilton hotels? ..."Landlords must offer room service a hot breakfast option and concierge parking"???

  • George Dawes

    How about no ?

    Air bnb is a total nightmare imo and best avoided

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    Air bnb are just trying to drum up business.


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