The troubled short-lets platform is facing several exponential threats as the Coronavirus lockdown decimates the travel sector and forces its landlords to look for new sources of rental income.
Airbnb is to cut 25% of its workforce and has scaled back its investment activity as the Californian based company (pictured) struggles to cope with the financial whirlwind whipping through the travel business.
The £30 billion house sharing platform, as it likes to be known, faces a clutch of potentially terminal problems.
National and international travel has ground to a halt and, because it doesn’t own any of the properties advertised on its site, it can do little to diversify during the Coronavirus crisis.
It also faces a third and potentially much more serious problem. Short-term lets landlords who were, until the lockdown, leaving it in significant numbers and turning to longer-term lets as many saw the COVID writing on the wall.
And although many UK landlords left it too late to find tenants, as soon as lockdown eases, most likely next week, landlords will continue to bleed from its listings into the arms of traditional letting agents, some commentators predict.
Dominic Agace, boss of estate agency Winkworth, says that many of the firm’s 60 branches across the capital, part of a nationwide network of 100 offices, have reported an increase in landlords looking for longer lettings for properties, which had once been occupied by tourists and corporate tenants.
“These attractive flats and houses in good locations would have been filled with AirBnB and other short stay tenants,” he says
“They are now standing empty after the ban on international travel and tourism. We have an excellent track record in lettings across London and are seeing landlords, some of whom were customers before the short-lets boom, coming to us for expert advice to find long-term tenants.”
Savills’ Head of UK Lettings Jane Cronwright-Brown, adds: “We’re going to see a lot of landlords and property owners swapping sides who may have not considered the traditional lettings market until now”.