Landlords turning to Airbnb to avoid buy-to-let tax clampdown

An increasing number of landlords have turned to offering short-term lets through Airbnb rather than dealing with the buy-to-let tax clampdown, research suggests.

Figures from the Residential Landlords Association found there has been a 199% increase in the total number of short-term rentals listed on Airbnb between 2015 and 2017 to 213,934.

Using data from Airdna, which analyses Airbnb listings, the RLA found that the biggest increase over two years was in Birmingham, with 1,834 listings. More than two thirds (69%) of the listings were by hosts with more than one property, suggesting they could be landlords fed up with the buy-to-let regime.

Cardiff has seen the biggest increase in listings over the past year, up 259% to 5,428, 56% of which were from hosts with more than one property.

The RLA claims these figures suggest the Government needs to scrap the changes to mortgage interest relief across the UK.

EYE did question whether rather than getting round the mortgage changes, some of the Cardiff landlords may be looking at short-term lets as they wouldn’t need a licence under the Rent Smart Wales scheme. A spokesman acknowledged that no licence would be needed for short-term lettings on Airbnb but didn’t comment further.

Douglas Haig, vice-chairman of the RLA, said: “With the tax changes incentivising the use of homes as short-term holiday lets, it is tenants who will suffer as fewer properties are available for them to rent for the long term.

“The Government wants longer-term security for tenants, especially families, and landlords support this, but they need to change their tax policy to achieve it.”

Total number of rentals Annual % change % change since 2015 % of hosts with multiple properties
Birmingham 1,834 187% 687% 69%
Cardiff 5,428 259% 539% 56%
Liverpool 2,113 102% 535% 72%
Leeds 1,615 71% 426% 67%
Oxford 2,436 56% 308% 64%
Manchester 6,032 63% 288% 62%
York 1,272 76% 285% 62%
Bath 1,385 62% 235% 59%
London 173,714 50% 187% 66%
Edinburgh 18,105 51% 182% 46%
Source:  RLA, Airdna

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