Landlords evicting tenants for Airbnb and vacation rentals report findings

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Landlords are evicting tenants and switching to Airbnbs and vacation homes because the money is better and they “don’t have to worry about bad tenants.”

Research has found a boom in rental properties being used for short-term rentals, caused by an increase in domestic public holidays and increased regulations for long-term landlords.

Related: Holiday homes ‘hollow out’ coastal areas, says the MP

In tourist areas, this is putting a strain on local supplies, causing housing shortages and pushing vital workers away from areas where they are needed, leading MPs and councils to consider measures to crack down.

A report by Scarborough Council found that the number of private rental properties in the town center had fallen from an average of 25 homes available at any one time in 2017 to six in 2022. The number of holiday homes increased dramatically over the same period.

The report states: “The council is dependent on using the private rental sector to meet demand [for housing]but officers report a significant drop in the availability of privately rented accommodation in the borough.

– We have also seen examples of private landlords evicting tenants in order to convert [their properties] into Airbnb and holiday rentals.”

This is not unique to beauty spots, as the number of Airbnb listings in London more than quadrupled between 2015 and 2019, in a city with a shortage of long-term rentals, earlier research by the Greater London Authority found.

A private member’s bill tabled last week by Rachael Maskell, York Central Labor MP, aimed to implement a license to convert residential properties into short-term and holiday rentals, give local authorities the power to issue fines and remove licences, and seek to introduce a ban on such properties in certain areas.

Last month the government launched a consultation on how to balance the need for tourist accommodation with housing for local people to live in. The deadline for responses is 21 September.

Related: Now Whitby also finds out what happens when tourism takes over Alex Niven

In the meantime, the councils come up with their own solutions. North Yorkshire County Council is considering proposals to introduce a 100% premium on council tax bills on holiday homes, while new rules come into effect next year in Wales requiring second home owners to pay 300% council tax.

Landlords said it wasn’t just money, but also experiences with poor tenants and a lack of flexibility in long-term rentals that drove them to platforms like Airbnb.

A landlord who received a court order to evict a tenant who failed to pay rent for 14 months told the Guardian she would eventually convert her other long-term rentals to Airbnbs.

She has four apartments in Scarborough rented through Airbnb, and another two are long-term private rentals. She said: “I’ve only kept these houses on insured tenancies because I can trust them and the families would have a terrible time finding alternative accommodation, which is at a premium in this tourist area.

– As the houses become empty, I want to use them for holiday accommodation if possible. I don’t want to risk different new full-time tenants.”

She said being able to claim expenses including mortgage interest, set-up costs and running costs made it more lucrative for her pension pot. “But most of all, I don’t have to worry about bad tenants, anti-social tenants and non-paying tenants, all of whom take forever to get rid of.

“I accept that tenants need protection from bad landlords, but good landlords are punished along the way.”

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