Landlords increasingly look to short term lets

AFS Team·6 February 2020·4 min read
Landlords increasingly look to short term lets

Landlords increasingly look to short term lets

The number of buy to let landlords who have increasingly moved into short-term lets could create a major rental crisis in the UK, one organisation is warning.

In research published by Arla Propertymark, they estimate that around 500,000 private rental homes could be switching from the rental market to short let or holiday accommodation.

Arla says the reason for the move is mostly down to legislative and tax changes in the private rental sector.

The organisation says that the number of active short-term lets being listed has risen by 33% between 2017 and 2018 when figures on Airbnb reached 223,000 properties.

UK's largest market for the number of listings

London is, unsurprisingly, the UK's largest market for the number of listings and the figures there rose fourfold between 2015 and 2019 to reach 77,000 properties.

In addition, the number of short-term lets has trebled in Edinburgh to reach 11,000.

Arla says the big worry with the rising number of short-term lets becoming available is the impact on the buy to let sector, which means tenants will have fewer properties available for them to rent.

They say their research reveals that up to 230,000 properties could be unavailable because landlords say they are 'very likely' to move their offering to short-term lets.

However, of those landlords who said they were 'fairly likely' to make the switch, then the number of properties leaving the buy to let sector would be 407,000.

The chief executive of Arla Propertymark, David Cox, said: "Short-term lets growth is a concern for the private rental sector with landlords facing increasing levels of legislation, so it's no surprise they are considering escaping this with short-term lets.

"Unless the sector becomes more attractive, landlords will continue to leave the market which will result in increased rents and fewer available properties."

Unprotected deposits worth £1.2bn being held

Meanwhile, it has been revealed that letting agents and landlords could be holding onto unprotected deposits that might be worth around £1.2 billion.

The figure comes from Hamilton Fraser and their company mydeposits which manages 25% of the deposit protection sector.

They say that they have more than 876,000 deposits being placed with them, with the average tenant paying a deposit worth an average of £1,139.

And by using figures from the English Housing Survey, they say there could be 1.1 million tenants potentially who do not have their deposit protected – which could amount to £1.2 billion.

A spokesman said: "It's impossible to tell how many deposits are sat unprotected by agents or rogue landlords, but based on market data we estimate the value runs into hundreds of millions of pounds."