For many landlords, having a few short-term lets can help enhance a property portfolio and the benefits include dependable income, less prohibitive regulation and reduced workload, especially when the services of an Airbnb management company are used. There is a wealth of opportunities for landlords.
Higher return on investment - Traditionally, the disadvantage of short-term lets is that they are more likely to have long vacant periods. However, now people have the option to sign up for several months at a time, landlords can secure long-term bookings and therefore more predictable income streams. The nature of Airbnb enables hosts to charge a higher rate than they would for regular tenants on Assured Shorthold Tenancies. For example, in London, Airbnb’s UK Insights report revealed that a typical host in London earned £74.28 a night and when this is compared to the average monthly rental income in London of £1430, reported by the Office for National Statistics in 2021 you get the following:
- Potential annual income from long term tenants: £17,160
- Potential annual income from Airbnb (if booked 365 days a year): £27,112.20
There are, of course, a lot of caveats to the above.
High occupancy rates on Airbnb depend on factors like property location and facilities, and it is unlikely you’ll have it booked every single night - although this is where offering long-term lets can be particularly useful to guarantee occupancy. There are also local restrictions to be aware of, such as the London 90-day rule (which limits the number of days you can host in the capital to 90 days per year) which will affect the amount of income you can earn. Still, when considering the potential ratio for return on investment, the above numbers show there can be significant benefits to using Airbnb.
Simplified tenancy process - There is a lot of regulation involved with being a landlord. Not only do you need to conduct multiple risk assessments and health and safety checks, but there’s also a whole stack of rules around signing up new tenants, including referencing and handling deposits.
While these regulations are, rightly, there to protect tenants from bad landlords, they can add a lot of stress and delay to the tenancy process. On the other hand, Airbnb hosts are constrained by much less regulation than regular landlords when it comes to tenancies. You will still need to comply with health and fire safety legislation and it makes good business sense to keep your property in a nice condition to attract more bookings. You’ll need to provide your tenants with a safe, clean and comfortable experience - but any good landlord should be doing that anyway.
Peace of mind against damage - It’s a scenario landlords are all too familiar with; at the end of the tenancy, your tenant leaves the property only for you to go round and discover that they’ve wrecked the carpets, broken a door handle and lost the spare key. Then, you are left to fight the tenant to claim the deposit, which can take months in severe cases. Even if you are able to recover the funds from the deposit, it's often not enough to cover the damage entirely.
The benefit of Airbnb is that, when your guests leave, the property is immediately checked over and, contrary to popular belief, wear and tear is greatly reduced with this type of letting. After all, your guests are usually out for most of the day and, when they are in, they won't be having lots of different guests over or moving the furniture around!
While there will always be demand for long-term rentals in the UK, using Airbnb for short and longer-term bookings can provide landlords with flexibility and freedom from increasingly prohibitive regulations. However, renting properties out in this way can take up more of your time and energy, particularly when it comes to queries and changeover.
If this is a concern, it may be beneficial to engage the services of an Airbnb property management company, who can manage the complete process for you, from listing to cleaning, as well as deal with any questions, disputes or damages that may arise.
Diversifying into Airbnbs can be a lucrative move, providing a higher return on investment with much less input than with traditional tenancies. Better still, there are Airbnb management companies who can help take over the process, leaving you free to step back and relax in the knowledge that everything is looked after.
Having a mixed portfolio of traditional rentals with Airbnbs can be a great way to balance risk against potential income gain, giving landlords greater peace of mind and security.
* James Jenkins-Yates is the founder and CEO of Houst (formerly Airsorted) *
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