Airbnb comes under scrutiny
New research showing that the number of landlords with over 10 Airbnb homes listed in London has risen by 8.4% year-on-year has sparked fresh criticism for the holiday accommodation rental giant.
The study carried out by Colliers International and Hotelschool The Hague shows that almost half (45%) of Airbnb units in London are operated by multi-listers with three or more properties. Additionally the number of prolific Airbnb landlords with more than 10 properties in the capital increased to 23%.
Colin Hall, head of London Hotels for Colliers International, said: “This rapid growth in multi-listed landlords demonstrates the changing profile of Airbnb from what was originally a platform for individuals to let out their own homes, to a profitable commercial venture whereby people are buying residential properties specifically for use as Airbnb accommodation.”
The increase of multi-lister landlords demonstrates a growing problem with Airbnb, and one that it has come under fire for previously. Housing shortages, particularly in popular European cities, has resulted in rent and house price rises which are pushing locals out of their homes and making it impossible for new generations to get on the housing ladder.
One example of this is in Berlin where rents have risen by 120% since 2004. In a direct attempt to make homes more affordable for locals Berlin introduced caps on Airbnb back in 2016 which said that landlords can only rent individual rooms on the accommodation site, not whole apartments or houses. Those who flout the law in Berlin could be slapped with a €100,000 fine.
As well as effecting prospective tenants and first time buyers, Airbnb can also have a negative impact on landlords who are experiencing problems in their homes being illegally sublet by tenants. Whilst most tenancy agreements outline strict rules about subletting, the growth of Airbnb has resulted in many flouting the law, tempted by the high returns that Airbnb renting can bring in. Landlords whose tenants illegally sublet their properties could affect mortgage terms and make buildings insurance void.
Whilst Airbnb cannot be solely blamed for a dearth in affordable rental accommodation and problems with illegal subletting, it’s hard to ignore the impact it is having on popular tourist towns and cities. It is difficult to see how Airbnb can continue to grow alongside the private rental sector if it is not to be more carefully monitored.