Are Airbnbs becoming less popular? Have they had their time? And are they causing too much damage to communities and too many frustrations for local residents? There are a number of recent reports pointing towards the major downfalls of short-term rentals.
In 2015, the law changed in England to allow properties used as short-term lets for up to 90 days a year to do so without the requirement of planning permission. This has led to an increase in the number of listings on Airbnb and other short-term letting platforms across the country.
And since then, a number of concerns have arisen surrounding the industry, including anti-social behaviour, illegal subletting of social housing and a knock-on shortage of homes for local residents.
Here we’ll take a look at Airbnbss and short-term let industry and the impact this is having on local neighbourhoods and communities.
Airbnbs are almost as expensive as hotels
Airbnbs seem to no longer be the bargains they once were. Recent figures from STR and AirDNA have revealed that using an Airbnb is almost as expensive as booking a hotel room, particularly so in certain locations.
The additional fees that come with renting an Airbnb, such as cleaning fees and extra guest fees, often push costs up for customers. With the price of Airbnbs having increased and the cost-of-living continuing to rise, these kinds of short-term rentals could become less popular, particularly as there are more affordable options on offer in many areas.
There are also often safety concerns as there are less regulations for these kinds of properties as compared to hotels. It seems that many are starting to feel Airbnb is on the decline, particularly as more people are understanding the negative impact these kinds of properties are having on local communities.
Illegal subletting of social housing
In the UK, it’s illegal to sublet social housing on Airbnb. However, a growing number of local authorities are concerned about their council homes being offered on Airbnb as short-term lets.
Kim-Taylor Smith, Kensington and Chelsea’s lead member for housing, commented: “Tenancy fraud is not a victimless crime. It costs the public purse an average of £42,000 a year for each home.”
With huge demand for social housing, it’s not fair that people in need are being denied a place to live because others are illegally subletting their council properties to earn money. This is a major issue local authorities are trying to crack down on but they need the help of Airbnb to expose those doing this.
The rise of antisocial behaviour
Short-term lets are also often associated with noise problems or other antisocial behaviour, in addition to rubbish not being disposed of properly. This is as some Airbnbs end up being used for parties or large groups.
With these properties often located in largely residential areas, this naturally upsets residents and negatively impacts communities and local’s quality of life. During 2020 in particular, Airbnb saw a rise in house party bookings as there were restrictions in place for clubs and bars.
This issue has gotten so bad that Airbnb has been trialling anti-party technology in an effort to crackdown on guests who book accommodation for massive parties. However, it will naturally be impossible to fully stop this from happening.
The impact on Manchester neighbourhoods and communities
A recent report written by journalists, academics and members of Greater Manchester Tenants Union and Greater Manchester Housing Action has raised concerns about the proliferation of Airbnb and other short-term letting platforms in Manchester and its effects on local residents.
There has been a year-on-year growth rate of more than 300% in Airbnb listings across Manchester between 2016 and 2020. Figures also suggest that if pre-pandemic growth trends continue at the same level for the previous four years, Manchester would lose massive chunks of its housing stock to short-term lets.
The short-term letting market is removing housing from the stock available to local people to buy or rent. This pushes up house and rent prices even more and creates empty neighbourhoods out of season.
By the end of the decade, the transfer of long-term rental properties into the short-term sector could shut out more than 4,000 households or 9,400 residents. Because of this, many are calling for greater regulation of the short-term rental market.
In other major cities across the world, there are restrictions limiting Airbnbs and short-term rentals. Some are wondering whether there should be a cap on the number of holiday lets in Manchester.
Paired with the anti-social behaviour and neighbourhood disruption that often comes with these kinds of properties, these are the exact reasons we do not allow short-term lets in any of our developments at Salboy. This then allows us to create genuine communities that puts residents and liveability first.