The UK is suffering from an extreme housing crisis – a fact widely accepted by politicians, economists and experienced first-hand by practically anyone trying to find affordable housing. How could Airbnb have any effect on the housing market?
The UK housing crisis and Airbnb
In cities where housing options are particularly low, those who have chosen to rent out a second home for short-term rather than long-term lets are unwittingly helping to lower the amount of available long-term rental properties. Furthermore, many homeowners are trying to own two properties, with one as a holiday let, rather than selling one.
According to an article in the Scotsman, the problem can be seen only too clearly in Edinburgh, where there are nearly 7,000 Airbnb listings alongside an acute housing crisis.
Whether you are looking for a house to buy in London or flats to rent in Gloucester through an agency such as TGRES Gloucester letting agents, you may already have noticed that affordable properties are getting harder to come by.
The Airbnb story
Airbnb started in the US as a fairly benign listing site that allowed homeowners to rent out their home while on holiday or to rent a room to travellers whilst they remained in the house. It quickly spread and became a cheap place for people to advertise their home to rent. In many cases, these homes are empty most or all of the time and the hosts are never present for the short rental period.
The crackdown countdown
Some local city governments have already cracked down on the use of entire flats or homes as short-term rentals, such as in Berlin. The listing company itself has also chosen to remove many listings in the UK without explanation and HMRC has issued a warning that Airbnb providers must declare all money made from their properties.
A fourth prong in terms of crackdown comes from mortgage lenders, which have warned customers that they are not allowed to let out properties without their lender’s consent. Whether these crackdowns have any effect is yet to be seen.
For those who use Airbnb as a means of finding a cheap holiday rental, it is unlikely they are aware that they are worsening an already bad housing market; however, this may be the truth of the matter.