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Airbnb urges lenders to allow mortgage borrowers to home share

Nick Cheek
Written By:
Nick Cheek

Airbnb is calling on all banks and building societies to update their mortgage policies to allow borrowers to supplement their income by letting out their homes.

Research commissioned by Airbnb from a sample of 2,000 homeowners found that 77% of people were looking for ways to boost their income to cover rising mortgage rates and living costs. 

Almost half  (47%) said they would list their home or a room on a short-term lettings platform such as Airbnb, but two fifths said their lender did not allow this. 

Metro Bank and Barclays are among two of the lenders which allow borrowers to rent their homes on short-term lettings platforms for up to 90 days a year but other lenders do not. 

There is also the government’s Rent a Room scheme which allows homeowners to earn £7,500 tax-free each year for taking in a lodger.

However, Airbnb said a lack of clarity from lenders meant many borrowers did not know what they were permitted to do. 

“Providing a lifeline for those who are struggling”

Airbnb said a third of hosts on the platform used the income to manage the rising cost of living. The typical hosts earns £6,000 a year. 

Bim Afolami MP, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Financial Markets and Services, said: “Allowing homeowners the flexibility to occasionally let out their property as a means of earning some extra income is a clear win for mortgage providers and could provide an important lifeline to those who might be struggling in these difficult economic times.  

“Banks and building societies can follow the example of lenders who are offering flexibility to their customers and allowing them to take up the benefits of home sharing.”  

Amanda Cupples, general manager for Northern Europe at Airbnb, said: “With mortgage rates and inflation continuing to climb in the UK, British families are turning to hosting on Airbnb as a tool to afford rising living costs.  

“In normal times, this activity, which, for most hosts, would be for no more than a couple days a month, offers flexibility and a source of additional income but in the current climate, it could be a lifeline. We want to work with lenders and show them the benefits of home sharing so they can update their policies and let homeowners make their homes work for them.” 

Desire to own holiday let on the rise

A separate survey of 2,000 UK adults conducted by specialist mortgage lender Together has found that 24% of Brits are considering becoming a holiday let owner. This figure rises to 51% among 18 to 34-year-olds.

For 48% of respondents, the biggest draw was the potential profit to be made. For those aged 55 and over, supplementing their income was a biggest motivator with 65% citing this as a reason for their interest.

Marc Goldberg, commercial CEO at Together, said: “Staycations have been in extreme demand – with bookings reaching all-time highs this year – and their popularity looks like it’s here for the foreseeable future. Whether families wish to stay in the UK to control costs, avoid getting caught up in potential airport travel issues, or just want to experience the UK’s beautiful countryside, there are lots of new holiday letting opportunities cropping up as more people recognise the income benefits of becoming a full or part-time host.

“While the rewards are plenty, there are some considerations for anyone weighing this up. Mortgage applications for holiday let properties are not always available from mainstream lenders, so it’s worth potential holiday let owners talking to specialist lenders, who could help to turn their ambitions of becoming a host into a reality.”