Long-Term Letting or Airbnb. What is the difference?
With up to eight times as many family homes available on Airbnb than there are available for long-term rent, it’s clear to see that the service famed for short-term stays is a disruptor for change in the rental market – and could be an opportunity for landlords to increase their yields.
Typically, people would use Airbnb to rent a property for a couple of days or a week to enjoy a holiday, while a traditional letting agreement would be for a period of six months or more.
Is there more money available for landlords going down the route of Airbnb, and are there other benefits in terms of licencing and return on investment?
Looking at the two options, what do landlords have to bear in mind when letting out properties long-term compared to utilising the popular short-term holiday letting site.
A holiday let, or at least one using a short-term lease has the potential to yield a far higher return than a long-term let.
This of course, is reliant on several different things and is not something that can absolutely be guaranteed. The location plays a key role in this.
If your property is in a tourist hotspot, then this would appear to be an immediate stand out benefit when looking at using Airbnb or a short-term length.
Recent research has shown that the prices of some Airbnb listings in some UK holiday hotspots have risen by around 50% in just three years, making them out of reach for many looking for affordable, long-term renting.
Of course, the Airbnb market does not guarantee this income across a calendar year, and the success is based very much on tourist seasons.
A long-term lease can provide some stability, with a guaranteed income for a landlord over a sustained period, albeit at a lower amount than a short-term lease that is constantly occupied and in demand.
There are also negative connotations potentially associated with short-term leases, particularly those not perceived to be in particularly holiday-oriented places.
The high prices are not just limited to the United Kingdom. Ireland has seen increased prices on short-term leases too, which have come as homelessness within the country tops 12,000. Tourist expert Rory Hearne told the Irish Mirror that using homes as short-term lets is “a major problem”.
While a long-term let provides stability in terms of income for a landlord over a much longer period than an Airbnb rental – this is also true in relation to the tenants that you have residing at your property.
A long-term lease gives you the opportunity to almost hand-pick your tenants, and you can get to know them. There will be opportunities at property viewings to meet the prospective tenants, and of course there are other fallbacks such as references from previous landlords, and credit checks to help protect you against damage to the property and importantly, protect you financially.
As well as this, once the tenant is settled, and living in the property, there will be minimal input on a day-to-day business from the landlord required.
A short-term let works differently. You may never meet the person staying at your property, and there could be multiple different people staying at the property in a period as short as a week. The day-to-day handling is different too – do you have time to clean and prepare the property ready for the next guests ready to stay?
Any landlord has responsibilities when it comes to letting a product, whether it be short-term or a long-term agreement over several years. Tom Swinbourne, from waste management experts, Skip Hire UK said:
“Maintenance is one of the standout areas where the landlord becomes responsible, with the supply of water, gas, electricity, sanitation, hot water and heating, all required to be kept in in good working order. If any work does need carrying out, do so efficiently, and ensure the property is cleared once the job is completed. A reputable skip hire company can help with this.
“This, however, is not an extensive list of responsibilities and landlords must be aware of all areas they are responsible before letting out a property to avoid any unwanted situations”.
Short-term rentals, meanwhile, bring other regulations as well as keeping the property safe and up to a standard that your guests would expect.
Landlords using sites like Airbnb should be aware that any profits over £1,000 annually must be declared, though this rises to £7,500 for renting out just a single room. It is vital landlords stay aware of this, as legal action could be taken, as well as fines issued.
In addition, holiday lets require a change of use through planning. This has been introduced in order to tackle a shortage of long-term available lets, particularly in holiday spots – some properties will not be granted permission to do so.
There are pros and cons to both long-term and short-term rentals. For a more secure income, and a higher chance of agreeable tenants, a long-term let would be the route to go down.
Financial gain, however, could be greater with the use of a platform like Airbnb, so if you can live with fluctuating demand, and be happy with ever-changing guests, then this could be for you.
Bear in mind, the reputational issues that being perceived to be taking advantage of the housing crisis, that short-term leasing can be expensive. The short-term market is only really meant for holiday lets and short breaks – not for exploitation.
Whichever lease you choose, get to know the regulations, your responsibilities, and keep up to date with any changes in guidelines.