Here’s what Airbnb landlords can do in this crisis – Helen Martin

Airbnbs, many of which are owned by overseas investors, disrupt local communities, writes Helen Martin.

By Helen Martin
Monday, 13th April 2020, 12:30 pm
Many Edinburgh residents are unhappy about AirBnB rentals
Many Edinburgh residents are unhappy about AirBnB rentals

MANY Edinburgh residents are not happy about Airbnb owners being offered advice to move their properties to long-term rental to avoid their financial ruin.

Even with two long-term rental flats, that doesn’t make sense to me. Airbnb rents are four times higher than the long-term market. It’s a loathed business that disrupts communities, disturbs locals and plasters the main door with key safes. And many, as the Evening News revealed, are owned not by locals but by overseas investors.

They wouldn’t be interested in long-term lets, registering themselves as landlords, and adhering to all the laws and regulations that apply with tenants legally entitled to recognise the property as “their home”. Obviously, those offering the advice are property agencies hoping to acquire more clients.

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Long-term lets are not a temporary sticking plaster until lockdown is ended and tourists return, so they could revert and quadruple their income again. During lockdown and Covid-19, even new long-term rental is also more or less ‘frozen’, just like house sales and purchases.

Would they be happy to keep long-term rental for ever at only 25 per cent of their previous income? No. Would they be happy to sell their flats instead? No. Once that’s possible again, tourism won’t be far behind. They could officially register as an Airbnb landlord if they haven’t already, comply with all the demands of the council to control holiday tenants, protect other permanent residents in the same block and have a local agency where neighbours can contact or lodge complaints.

Alternatively, sell their flats, fund together to buy or build entire blocks of Airbnbs… in other words, run self-catering hotels and leave local residents in peace.

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