A cap on the number of nights that landlords in London can let out their properties through Airbnb could hit London’s tourist industry, according to new research.
Since January, Airbnb has limited the number of nights that landlords in the capital can rent out their homes to 90 days a year. This is to make sure that hosts don’t break planning laws because homeowners are not allowed to let out their entire home for more than 90 days a year without planning consent.
Analysing data from almost 50,000 London homes let through Airbnb over the past two years, Airbnb concierge service My Property Host found that the number of properties listed on the short-let site has grown significantly from 9,000 in January 2015 to 49,000 now.
Around 25,000 of the London properties listed on Airbnb are entire homes, and almost 5,000 of them were let out for longer than 90 days last year.
The data shows that occupancy levels and average prices rise and fall fairly consistently through seasonal peaks and troughs.
But My Property Host suggests this is set to be change as landlords who have hit the 90-day limit will be forced to take their properties off Airbnb, with a knock-on effect on the number of short stay homes available in London, pushing up prices of the remaining stock.
Supply shortage could push up prices
Elena Lopez, managing director of My Property Host, says: “Airbnb deserves praise for doing its bit to ensure London landlords don’t flout the law. But in forcing thousands of hosts to comply with the 90-day rule, it is also risking unintended consequences.
“Beyond the obvious loss of revenue for Airbnb, there is a danger that by de-listing hosts who reach the 90-day cap it will cause a sudden supply shortage.
“While it’s likely that some unscrupulous landlords will seek to let their property for longer through Airbnb’s rivals, their share of the market is small by comparison.
“In previous years, consistent rises in both demand and supply of properties have kept Airbnb prices relatively stable, but 2017’s supply shock could hit hard and significantly drive up prices.
“While the weak pound has made London more attractive to foreign visitors, a sudden shortage of guest accommodation on Airbnb risks making the capital lose its tourist edge at just the wrong time.”