Housing Supply and Rents Research

Is Airbnb compounding the housing crisis?

Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

London listings on Airbnb have rocketed by more than a quarter in just four months – sparking fears the popularity of the holiday letting site is depriving the city of vital homes to rent.

In the four months from February to June this year listings were up 27% from 33,715 to 42,646 and new research from the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) shows that the majority of entire properties to let – 61% – were available for more than three months a year, with an average occupancy rate of 89 nights per year.

The RLA is concerned that some of these are rental homes being taken off the market to be used as lucrative holiday lets. It also has concerns over social and private tenants subletting in contravention of their tenancy agreements.

The RLA is now calling on the Mayor of London and the Government to undertake an immediate review of the policing of Airbnb type models to ensure that those advertising lets of longer than 90 days have the necessary permission and are not seeking to get round the law.

RLA Policy Director, David Smith said: “London more than anywhere else in the country is in desperate need of more homes to rent and to buy.

“Given the pressures faced in the capital it is important that properties advertised as being available for more than 90 days a year are genuine holiday lets with appropriate planning permission.

“Otherwise, as well as taking rental stock off the market for those looking for somewhere to live, they are also putting tenants in a vulnerable position without all the protections offered by a tenancy agreement.

“We are calling on the Mayor of London and the Government to work together to improve the policing of such sites to ensure they are not being abused.”

The research shows that 41% of all Airbnb listings in London in June were multi-listings,  meaning the property owners had more than one property advertised. This increased from 38% in February. The increase, from 12,744 to 17,593, is a sign the website is increasingly becoming commercialised.

Over the same period, the number of entire homes or apartments listed on Airbnb in London increased from 17,625 to 21,861, an increase of 24%.

To read the full RLA report click here.

About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Magazine and Digital Editor for the NRLA. With 20 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for editing our members' magazine 'Property', producing our articles for our news site, the weekly and monthly bulletins and editorial content for our media partners.

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