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Airbnb’s tax clampdown on landlords is “good news for letting agents”

Industry figure says platform's desire to stave off regulation by increasing tax transparency will play into the hands of traditional agents.

Nigel Lewis


Agents worried that Airbnb continues to pose a threat to traditional lettings in many city centres can rest easier, it has been claimed.

Hybrid lettings platform Apropos boss David Alexander (pictured, above) says the recent decision by Airbnb to pass the financial transactions of some 225,00 landlords and hosts to HMRC is likely to signal an exodus of landlords from this market.

Those who thought making more money from short-lets without having to declare their earnings to HMRC are now realising the game may be up, bringing a decade of ‘free-for-all’ activity  to an end.

This trend has been accelerated by Covid. Hamptons International recently said 37% of Airbnb stock in London has been switched to long-term occupation since the lockdown ended, and that 12% of all properties being advertised for sale are former Airbnb units.

Alexander, who is CEO of Apropos, says: “Since the start of pandemic we have had hundreds of former Airbnb property owners approach us about shifting from short to long term letting.

Dry up

“They correctly predicted that nobody would be holidaying or travelling and therefore their incomes would dry up over the course of this year.

“This investigation by HMRC into the income earned by these property owners between 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 means that many more landlords will feel that the short-term letting market is not for them.”

Alexander claims that this, along with the higher costs of Airbnb renting – such as greater cleaning and maintenance costs, higher insurance premiums, and the expectation that more damage is likely to be caused by a short-term tenant – will persuade more landlords to re-join the traditional lettings market.

Read more about regulation of Airbnb.

October 13, 2020

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