Especially in the big cities, Airbnb in the UK has grown to become a big factor of the hospitality business. With thousands of hosts not only in London but in every greater city and even in some of the smaller cities – especially those known to be popular tourist destinations – Airbnb is on its way to change how people seek for accommodation in the United Kingdom.
With the growing popularity of Airbnb in the UK it is only normal that also control of the activities of Airbnb hosts has steadily increased. However, it can currently be observed that the United Kingdom’s government is showing signs of forthcoming to people who are offering short term stays. From April 2016 onward for instance, if hosts incur more than £7,500 of income with their Airbnb rental (or other type of short term rental), only then will they be required to pay taxes. That amount is therefore going to increase from currently £4,250 pounds.
Airbnb in the UK: Bureaucratic Hurdles Have Also Been Eased
If you plan on using Airbnb in the UK for renting out for less than 90 days a year, you don’t need a planning permission. The planning permission, which exists only in the United Kingdom and Ireland, defines for which purposes a piece of land or building can be used. Since the whole topic of planning permissions can be quite elaborate (more information here) it is good to know that casual rental via Airbnb in the UK will not lead to undue bureaucratic complications.
These changes which are relatively recent underscore the fact that the United Kingdom’s government is supporting Airbnb and with it the whole philosophy of the shareconomy, a term that describes the collective utilization of individual property (currently in the process of extending to cars and power tools). For the Airbnb community, this is great news. The only voices of criticism can be heard from the hotel industry, which fears for their market share.
Airbnb Hosts in the UK Are Becoming More Professional
For many people in the United Kingdom, Airbnb has become an important part of increasing their income. Correspondingly, the availability of upscale short term rental options in London for example has expanded considerably. There have even crept up very exotic options such as staying on a floating house on the Thames river. Over the course of the next years, there will be a lot more very extravagant options, which have shown to be very popular in other countries.
However, there have also been cases reported of problems and troubles related to Airbnb in the UK. Some of these cases even made national press, such as when a home owner decided that a homosexual couple cannot stay in the house. In this case it led to the cancellation of the rental contract and a generous refund for the couple as well as the deletion of the account of that particular Airbnb hosts. Airbnb has a zero tolerance policy for discrimination.
An account deletion by the way for whatever reason is always rather painful, because reviews which are likewise deleted are very important for Airbnb hosts’ success. If you lose your account that means you have to start from zero (even though in this case probably this particular Airbnb host was even denied from participating on the platform ever again).
A Word of Caution for Potential Airbnb Hosts in the UK
Even though Airbnb has a very generous insurance policy for their hosts which of course is also valid for Airbnb hosts in the United Kingdom (up to 1 million USD), it can be helpful to screen potential tenants as they are placing their reservations and bookings. To make sure that you have pleasant, tidy and respectful guests you can look at their reviews, as well as their obligatory welcoming message and you can use common sense in regard to age, gender, number and origin of the candidate(s). You can also choose to only accept guests which have been verified by Airbnb through a passport scan, phone number, bank transfer or friend count on social networks.
In the particular case of where a drug orgy escalated into damages of roughly £50,000 the Airbnb host was reimbursed fully. Not many other platforms have such a generous insurance policy and definitely one would have a lot more trouble getting damages covered would he be renting out on his own. It is very important however that you actually receive the booking through the Airbnb platform and that you never try to cheat Airbnb out of their service fee of 3% by arranging a stay through Airbnb and sneaking your guests your location details via the Airbnb communication functions.
Conclusion: If you live in the UK, Airbnb might be a wonderful option to make a little extra cash or even become financially independent. It is of course extremely important that if you are not the owner of the property where you plan to receive Airbnb guests, that you get the explicit written permission of your landlord. It is also important that if you are exceeding the tax break level of short term stay rentals that you declare your income gained via Airbnb. If you’re looking for more advice on how to monetize Airbnb to its fullest potential, we suggest you read Get Paid for Your Pad – The most comprehensive guide on Airbnb currently available on the market.
About the author:
Joe Goerbert is a business plan writer and marketing consultant. Born in Germany, he is living as a digital nomad since 2010 and has been using Airbnb extensively since 2013. His favorite regions are South America and the Balkan countries, and he can guarantee by way of experience that you will meet interesting and awesome people through Airbnb.