Agents see growth in short-term lets

More than half of agents have seen an increase in short-term lets in their local area over the past four years, according to research by Propertymark.

The findings of the study – which are detailed in the membership organisation’s newly published report The Impact of Short-Term Lets on UK Housing – also revealed that short-term lets hit a peak during the pandemic when many people opted for ‘staycations’ in the UK rather than negotiate restrictions placed upon travelling abroad.

The research also revealed the localised nature of the rise in short-term lets, with 76% of agents operating in tourist hotspots reporting an increase in STLs over the last four years but the figure dropping to 33% for agents operating in non-tourist hotspots.

Other Propertymark research, meanwhile, suggests the overall rise in STLs isn’t being pounced upon as a business opportunity by agents: the organisation’s monthly Private Rented Section Reports show between 5% and 10% of its member agents have at least one STL property in their portfolio. In addition, a report published by Propertymark earlier this year revealed STLs accounted for less than 2% of the average agent’s managed portfolio in March 2022.

Furthermore, Propertymark said its latest research showed that lettings agents “overwhelmingly agree” that the rise in STLs will negatively impact the private rented sector in the long run.

The organisation added that, with current publicly available data on the number of second homes being inconsistent, government bodies across the UK “need to find better ways to collect data on the use and location of short-term lets and holiday homes in order to target its approach effectively”.

With the UK government considering the introduction of a licensing scheme with physical checks for STL premises in England, 68% of respondents to Propertymark’s survey supported the move as a primary solution to increase the supply of private rented sector homes.

Timothy Douglas, Propertymark’s head of policy and campaigns, said: “Both the Scottish and Welsh governments have taken action to address the issue and for England, the vast majority of our members support the introduction of a licensing scheme with physical checks for short-term let premises as well extending the current health and safety requirements and tenant protections to short-term lettings.

“As highlighted in our report, the challenge for government is balancing the flexibility that short-term letting brings with the existing rules for longer term renting, the tax system and the impact on communities as well as creating ways in which local authorities can gather data and control short term lets in their areas.”




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