Landlords with properties within the UK’s key rural and coastal holiday hotspots have been accused of greed as many switch from traditional long-term rentals to holiday lets, ironically persuaded to do so by more generous tax breaks.

A councillor in Suffolk are the latest to berate landlords for switching properties to Airbnb or holiday cottage rental platforms.

Liberal Southwold and Reydon district councillor David Beavan told local media that: There will be no community left…I think they don’t rent locally as they make lots from holiday lets. It’s pure greed.

“The first problem locally has been [that[ prices are inflated and secondly holiday rents going up more rapidly and provide higher returns and are more profitable,” he says.

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A property search on Rightmove makes the point; only three properties are available to rent outside of the county’s two ‘working towns’ while hundreds of properties are available on Airbnb at rents of £150-£200 a night which is five or six times the average monthly rent locally.

And while profits from these short-term lets have in the past been offset by long void periods during the low-season, restrictions on foreign travel during Covid means many have been fully booked for months on end over the past year-and-a-half.

Generation Rent has also campaigned on the topic, publishing a blog that also claimed holiday lets are pushing up rents for traditional properties.

Airbnb listings

It says Cornwall has 62 homes to rent on Rightmove but 10,290 AirBnB listings and that within one village in Wales, three quarters of the houses are holiday homes.

And as LandlordZONE reported recently, Anthony Mangnall, the Tory MP for Totnes, recently declared a housing emergency after local complaints about a shortage of rented properties.

Also, Generation Rent has launched a petition calling for the tax benefits afforded holiday let landlords but not traditional let landlords to be withdrawn, which 43,000 people have signed so far.

The NRLA agrees, saying recently that it wants “to ensure the tax system encourages the provision of longer-term rental property over short-term holiday lets.

“From April this year, the final phase of reducing mortgage interest relief for landlords to the basic rate of income tax will be completed.

“This measure does not apply though to furnished holiday lets. This has encouraged the removal of properties from the long-term market for use as short-term holiday lets.”

23 COMMENTS

  1. Do you think the inability to evict a non paying tenant from a long term let might be behind this as much as the extra rent available? Possibly this is an unintended consequence of all those promoting tenants rights over landlords. Landlords have had a torrid time during the pandemic and can you blame them for taking some quick cash? It is about time the powers that be starting respecting LLs for the vital role they perform in housing the nation instead of constantly eroding the reputation and profits of the majority who are hard working, decent people not the rogues and scoundrels they are constantly portrayed as.

    • If our flats were in a holiday-suitable area I would change from the appalling stress, abuse, arrears, damage and ludicrous amounts of legislation, and the months and hundreds or thousands of pounds to get complete b*stards out of our properties, and go for the ability to have to only put up with a rude, arrogant, complaining, whinging layabout who considers it quite out of the question to clear up the unbelievable mess left all over the place by their ghastly progeny for about a fortnight or even just a week. I’d do it without any compunction whatever. I’d rather not have anything to do with humans in any capacity, but whilst it is unavoidable it would be sheer idiocy to continue with a business model that isn’t even considered as a business by Britain’s Brainless Government and is far, far more trouble than it is worth, when I could swap to one that is, and is far less horrible all round, much easier to manage, and subject to vastly less stupid, ill-considered legislation penned primarily by Persons Wanting To Be Elected. As our flats don’t earn enough to cover the mortgages sometimes, let alone make a profit on which to exist, we work as self-employed holiday let housekeepers. I have vast experience of both camps, and would not blame any Property Proprietor for opting for holiday letting over residential. This is NOT greed, it is sense, as Tricia aptly says. When you have been stuck for months with a foul-mouthed, abusive, lying cowpat who only gets off her fat backside ten minutes before the bailiff is due, and leaves arrears of over £6000 and a trashed flat full of used needles, filth, rubbish and considerable damage, you have every right to do exactly as you wish. Personally I should quite like to shoot councillors, politicians, tenants and numerous other people for a pastime, but it only seems to be legal to do so if the victims are gamebirds, which I like. Pity.

  2. It’s not greed and it’s not about the extra cash – which comes with lots of extra effort and expenses such as cleaning. It’s entirely because the government have made it too terrifying for former LL’s like myself to rent on a six-month AST. Everything is now weighted strongly against the LL and in favour of the tenant. Add the evictions ban and the fact that the court system is not fit for purpose and you’d have to be nuts or a gambler to let on a six-month contract.

  3. When it now costs a fortune and takes forever to evict a tenant who can blame landlords. I’m afraid local councils and government are reaping what they sow.

  4. It’s not greed. Why would you be a landlord with all the anti-landlord rhetoric, legislation and compliance that has been imposed upon us over the past few years?

  5. Totally agree with the above comments. It’s not about the money. Airbnb is a secure and relatively stress free option for landlords.

    If councils and Government want to increase the rental stock, they should be working with, not against, landlords, and reducing some of the pointless bureaucracy we endure. There are many options: improving the court system and getting rid of the useless How to Rent document are two examples at opposite ends of the horrendousness spectrum.

  6. I entirely echo the previous comments especially around the balance of risk to reward in the PRS.

    Years ago I worked for Tesco in management and I was dispatched to Lowestoft to open a new store and was there for many months.
    Southwold is just up the coast from Lowestoft it’s a very posh place indeed.

    This MP has totally lost the plot… The only reason Southwold exists is since Victorian times it made a living from Tourism, prior to that it was a tiny fishing village. The entire local economy is based on tourism and in the winter the place is a ghost town just as Gt Yarmouth etc etc. He is aiming to shut down the very business model that created Southwold in the first place.

    Local Landlords are businesses they charge the going rate and have months of no business at all in the winter when holidaymakers go off to Spain etc
    Coastal towns are run down for a reason… Lack of business.

    He should be grateful the local economy has an uplift and should be welcoming the influx of tourists spending their cash in the town.

    Parts of Wales were ghost towns for 30 years after the mines closed and without tourism they will remain so. No work for young locals who are then forced to move to cities for work.

    • Good perspective and bang on the money. Where I live in Devon AirBnB’s are welcomed, contributing to the local economy and attracting tourist money, especially since many AirBnBs are decorated to a much higher standard than local hotels.

      • You make a very valid point about standard of decor.

        This sort of thing is not new, its just much easier now with technology. Years ago people used to house swop… So a Brit would go and live in an Americans house while at the same time the American would come to uk and live in the brit house….

        No one complained then… I recall the BBC actually promoting such activity as culturally enlightening 🙂

  7. There is less regulation with holiday lets, you can register as a business and get tax breaks as well as covid help. Holiday letters come and go so if you get a bad one it doesnt take 12 months to get rid of them, and you can offset mortgage interest against tax…. Why wouldnt all landlords convert to holiday lets even if they only made the same profit. I would if i had mine in a tourist area. Its a lot less stressful.

  8. its pure greed, a landlord will quite happily evict a good tenant and rent the property out for 4-10x the amount.
    some of these comments are rather amusing, blaming it on s21 being removed or covid eviction bans, yet airbnb has been destroying the rental market for at least 5 years.

    • Nope, you are clearly not an LL. No LL would evict a good long term tenant who pays the rent on time and respects the property. It’s not AirBnB that is destroying the rental market – it is anti-landlord government legislation and – sorry to say it – bad tenants. Many took advantage during Covid. I rented myself in London from 18 until my early thirties and lived in some awful places – rat and mould infested – as that was all that was available before the AST act was introduced. We are heading that way again – a dire shortage of decent long term rental accomodation – because the government didn’t see the unintended consequences of making it difficult to evict bad tenants.

      • well ive seen it happen. tenants that did nothing wrong were evicted and the landlord admitted it was so they could rent on airbnb for way more money.

        • Is that illegal at all????
          Errr… No.
          It’s called good business.
          Maximising a return on investment.

          Private sector landlords provide accommodation in return for rents. It is not a charitable sector, or a not for profit etc. it’s a service-based business. No different than hiring or leasing a car. Try leasing a Ferrari worth £100,000 for £500/month and see how you get on.

          Anyone renting in the private sector does so knowing that asset could be sold at any time. Just as investors accept tenants knowing there are risks around non-payment, Cannabis farms, pop-up brothels, pet damage etc etc etc

          If you don’t keep up your car payments it will be repossessed, don’t pay rent you will be evicted.

          Bottom line is any landlord (Investor) can leave the rental sector anytime they chose, sell up and invest in something less risky, nothing you can do about that other than find it harder to find rental accommodation in the future and pay higher rents.

          Locally where I invest, pre-covid there would always be about 20x 2-bed properties for rent at any time. (Healthy competition keeping rent prices in check) Today I check Rightmove and there is just one and the rent has increased from £500/month to £625/month and as there is just a single property available it will go so someone prepared to pay the highest price with the best references.

          Anyone not happy with the PRS can go to the council and get a dingy flat in a ghetto estate.

        • Then that was the exception, not the rule. I would not dream of chucking out a decent person, regardless of how much extra I could make. If the place became empty, I would certainly choose to change the business model, but that, you see, would not result in anyone being shoved out. The only case I have ever heard about was not due to AirBnB, but a woman who chose to boot out an apparently perfectly well-behaved elderly man, with no issues whatever, in order to house her daughter! There is far less sense in that, considering that she could have her own family in her own house, or do dozens of other things. Perhaps you should pal up with Mr Councillor, so you can reassure each other that you have all the facts at your fingertips and can comment on something you know very little about! If the lefties, righties, loonies, armchair social-workers and Shelter would stop making it virtually impossible to cope with residential letting, they would, perhaps, not find the inevitable beginning to occur.

    • 10x the amount??? Really so a flat that rented out at £500 / month is going to bring in £5000 / month? £60,000 year Really!!!

      Clearly someone who is ill informed about the risk/reward ratio’s in the PRS.

      Tell me what is a “Correct” level of profit in your mind? Put some numbers on your rhetoric.

      No one in these comments mentioned s21 or the eviction ban so clearly you view life with not one but both eyes shut. Try actually reading the comments, learning a new perspective and offering a constructive comment.

      Airbnb is not destroying PRS it’s that the balance between risk and reward is no longer favourable.

      The result will be fewer properties for rent and higher rents as a consequence.
      What you fail to understand is that investors do not HAVE to rent out property, they can simply sell up and move their money to other less risky ventures.

      I’ve recently sold three rental properties and all have gone to individuals so that’s three less rentals for a start.
      Gen rent and Shelter do not own any houses, they will not be able to help the homeless in any practical sense.

      • are you daft dave ? i didnt say every room, flat, house etc will pull in 10x the amount, i said 4-10x which depends where it is and how desirable it is.
        maybe you should browse airbnb and see for yourself. plenty of rooms or entire properties renting for silly amounts per night.

        yes people in these comments did insinuate s21 and eviction ban as well as what they see as a general anti-landlord bias as likely reasons landlords have been renting for years on airbnb, rather than the silly amounts of money they can make.

        ps dave you might be able to read but you certainly struggle to understand what is being said.

  9. My understanding of the PRIVATE RENTAL SECTOR IS THAT IT IS PRIVATE!

    To me that means a LL may CHOOSE to let a property under differing investment regimes.

    I t has never been the case that a private LL must let on a single AST.

    This was only done because it was an effective business practice.

    NOW it isn’t due to what has been previously mentioned; S24; S21, S8, the general dysfunction of the repossession process, the eviction ban etc, etc!

    The idiot Shelter and GR are NOT in any position to dictate to a LL how he chooses to let a property.

    Just because it used to make sense letting under the AST regime; now it doesn’t.

    AST letting to single households no longer make business sense.

    The prime reason being inability to quickly remove feckless rent defaulting tenants.

    It is no wonder that LL have moved away from the AST business model to FHL.

    LL AREN’T greedy but they are in the game to make as much money as they can.

    Otherwise why would they even bother being a LL!?

    Govt were warned in 2015 what would happen if S24 was introduced.
    That is why there are now very few AST letting properties available.

    Ridiculous Tory ideology has caused this pandering to the ridiculous GR and Shelter who seem to believe they should be allowed to dictate how LL use their assets.

    I think that is Communism which is the most ridiculous failed social policy ever.

    What has happened was predicted.

    The ONLY way for Govt to salvage the situation is to abolish S24.

    Introduce a fast track eviction process of 45 days with NO court action required but only in cases of rent defaulting of 2 months which is 1 month and 1 day.

    Just doing these two things would see LL flock back to AST letting.

    But this will never happen as Govt is ideologically obsessed with attempting to obtain GR voted.

    Govt is far more likely to remove in the innimitable words of the mealy mouthed BBC ‘ generous tax reliefs’ for FHL LL.

    So S24 for FHL and n more CT avoidance and no small company reliefs.

    Govt really is that thick.
    It seems most of these bonkers anti-PRS policies come from left-wing indoctrinated snowflake civil servants.

    Don’t think they understand that with their weird ideology at some point they run out of other peoples’ money………..then what!!??

    Few LL want to bother with FHL but they are forced to do so because of Govt making AST letting unviable.

    It could well be that FHL becomes the new AST.

    FHL won’t house people but then that isn’t the LL problem.
    They exist to make money.

    Govt has made AST letting ineffective.
    FHL is where LL are gravitating to.
    There LL are in CONTROL.

    But I cannot see Govt allowing FHL to prosper.
    Ad a matter of vital imperative it needs to force LL to return to AST letting.

    The current benefits of FHL I believe will be removed in the forthcoming budget.

    Govt hasn’t much alternative.
    It must force LL to return to single lettings.

    Gonna be a case of very much watch this space!!

  10. Don’t blame the player blame the game.

    Change the rules to make renting via AST unviable then don’t be surprised if landlords move out of the market

  11. I have invested in property rather than a pension, so I am planning for my own future, and dont wish to be reliant on the government to fund me into old age. I want to leave property to my children so they dont have to face the horrendous situation the government created when it sold off all the social housing, relying on private landlords to fill the gap. I let long term once 15 years ago, never again, I experienced all the problems noted above, and that was before extended rights to stay imposed now, I simply lost money and had a whole lot of stress to boot, why would i choose this. Is it greed to want to try to secure a home for my children and a pension for myself, taking two burdens off the national and local government. I have struggled all my life to pay off mortgage, now I can do something to help my children and it wont be the severely restricted AST route, taxed too heavily, with legislation that could leave me with debts and grief. The holiday let business is not without issues, in fact all those daily rates people see on airbnb are taken a face value, what about the continuing rates, elec, broadband, cleaning, wear and tear, admin and advertising fees, people that simply quote these rates as profit need a lesson in business. Half the rate you see generally, then look at the time the property is left empty. I might achieve with my holiday let after costs what I would have achieved with a long term rental, but I am simply not prepared to take the risk of getting stuck with a tenant that does not pay, does not look after the property and leaves me with a court battle, why would I do that. For me its not so much about profit, its about, pension, helping my children and not saddling myself with stressful court proceedings and potential debt due lack of rental payments. There are going to be a lot of redundant people soon when furlough ends, it is just too risky.

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