London's first Airbnb league table revealed

Wednesday 26th October 2016

A new league table has revealed which boroughs are the most in-demand for short-term lets through websites like Airbnb.
Short-term landlords in Tower Hamlets who use Airbnb to let a property achieve the highest occupancy rate in the capital, 94%, according to research by My Property Host.
In second place is Hackney, which is home to trendy locations like Stoke Newington and Shoreditch, with an average occupancy rate of 90%. 
The top five is made up by Kensington and Chelsea (87%), City of London (86%) and Highbury and Islington (83%).
My Property Host calculated average occupancy rates based on properties listed at a fair market price, and where the host has at least two positive reviews from past guests.
Rank London Borough Average Occupancy Rate
1 Tower Hamlets 94%
2 Hackney 90%
3 Kensington & Chelsea 87%
4 City of London 86%
5 Highbury & Islington 83%
6= Hammersmith 80%
6= Camden 80%
8 Westminster 75%
9 Southwark 74%
10 Lambeth 70%
The high occupancy rates recorded across the capital suggest demand and supply are evenly matched – and My Property Host says short-term landlords must therefore price their properties correctly and earn good reviews to attract bookings.
“Letting out your property through Airbnb is a quick and efficient way to make some short-term income, and the high occupancy rates across London show the strength of demand from visitors," says Elena Lopez, managing director of My Property Host.
"As Airbnb’s popularity increases among families and business travellers, the map of Airbnb hotspots is likely to be redrawn," she says.
"Larger homes in zones 2 and 3 will appeal more to families, and we expect properties in the City of London to do well as corporate travellers embrace Airbnb as an alternative to faceless hotels.”
Currently, planning regulations limit Londoners to letting their property to short-term guests for no more than 90 days in a year.
A recent ruling in the Upper Tribunal – a court with equivalent status to the High Court – has raised the issue that millions of property owners using short-term lets websites like Airbnb could be breaching their lease terms.
The ruling was made after a woman fell out with her neighbours in a development in north London, when she let out her flat via Airbnb and other similar websites. Residents asked the freeholder of the block to act and the case went to court.
Judge Stuart Bridge who was overseeing the case ruled: “In order for a property to be used as the occupier’s private residence, there must be a degree of permanence going beyond being there for a weekend or a few nights in the week.”
“Granting very short term lettings (days and weeks rather than months) [….] necessarily breaches the covenant [not to use the property as anything other than a private residence].”
Commenting on the case, Adam Keith, manager of transactional liability at insurance firm Pii, said: “This new ruling could potentially prevent a vast number of property owners in leasehold properties from conducting short-term lets.” 
“This is particularly an issue in London, where there is a large number of leasehold properties and growing demand for short-lets from tourists, contractors, casual workers and overseas students.”
“Any investors, buy-to-let landlords or home owners considering taking advantage of the Airbnb market, should think hard about the legal implications. They may find that they are restricted to longer term rentals and may fall foul of the law if they become Airbnb hosts. This has real legal repercussions and, in the very worst case scenarios, could result in the forfeiture of the lease and the loss of the property,” he added.
“In essence, property owners who fail to inform their buildings and contents insurer about their short-term lets are potentially putting their property at risk. Should a claim need to be made for the building itself or the contents, the owner may be in for a big shock.  There is a high likelihood that the insurer will refuse the claim."

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