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Part-time property rentals in the capital are thriving – a good thing or damaging?

An Airbnb management company has claimed that part-time property rentals are booming in London.

Airsorted, which was founded in February 2015 by James Jenkin-Yates, Daniel Scott and Tom Jones and offers various management services for Airbnb homes, says two-in-five Londoners using the host management platform are part-time hosts. This group includes those letting out their homes anywhere between one and 90 days, ranging from those renting out their homes while away on short city trips to those relocating full-time to new cities but eager to keep a base in London.

The site claims that Londoners are making, on average, £6,894 for letting out their homes for only 63 days a year. According to Airsorted, part-time hosts have sailed around New Zealand, explored Europe in a campervan and even walked from London to Rome to raise money for charity thanks to the income received from renting their property.

Airsorted’s research analysed the behaviours of both hosts and guests, and revealed that 9% of guests in London properties already live in the city, a figure twice as high as any other city Airsorted operates in within the UK. This, the company says, indicates that the British ‘staycation’ - a more popular trend in recent years thanks to various factors including austerity, Brexit uncertainty and environmental concerns surrounding flying – is alive and well.

This year, according to a study by travel industry digital marketing specialist Sojern, summer staycations searches and bookings were up by a third, suggesting the popularity of domestic breaks is strengthening rather than waning.

“Londoners are truly a transient bunch. With greater strides in flexible and remote working, the city’s residents are seeking opportunities to see the world and using their properties to fund their exploration,” James Jenkin-Yates, founder and chief executive of Airsorted, said. “And, it turns out that Londoners are still excited to visit new parts of their hometown, as the ‘staycation’ becomes ever more popular.” 

Not everyone is enamoured with the short-let boom, though. Earlier this year we reported how the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, was urged to ban Tube adverts encouraging people to break short-let laws, with the company at the centre of the storm – home-sharing management firm Hostmaker – eventually agreeing to pull their short-term rental ads from the TfL network after a considerable backlash.

And in June, ten European cities clubbed together to ask for more help from the EU in their battle against Airbnb and other short-let holiday rental websites. Across Europe, from London and Paris to Barcelona, Amsterdam, Berlin and Palma, there have been efforts by cities to get a handle on the popularity of short-let rentals – which has led to over-tourism, anti-social behaviour and worries about the supply of long-term rental homes being eroded – while still taking advantage of its benefits.

For those investors interested in short-term lets, Airsorted has provided a number of top tips for short-term property rental, which can be seen below:

1) Location, location, location. Whilst you can’t change where you live, you can boast about its transport links. Properties within 1km of a tube or train station have on average a 16% higher occupancy rate.

2) A photo tells a thousand words, but a professional photo will sell your property. Smart looking pictures that show your property to its potential will pay off… literally. Those using professional photographs earn 17% more than those without.

3) Speed is of the essence. Guests want a responsive host that can answer any queries in advance or during their stay quickly. In fact, speed of response is key to achieving the coveted ‘superhost’ status. This can be a time-consuming task, which is why many choose to outsource this to a host management company like Airsorted.

4) The guest experience is everything! Once you’ve got your guests through the door, it’s important to remember that your guests are on holiday. Little touches of hotel glam, or warm and personal notes can improve the overall experience.

5) There’s more out there than just Airbnb. Whilst Airbnb arguably made part-time property rental famous, there’s plenty of websites you can list your property on to ensure you have a high occupancy rate, such as HomeAway, Expedia and Booking.com. 

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