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What you need to know about Airbnb regulations in London
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What you need to know about Airbnb regulations in London

"Can I rent out my property on Airbnb in London?" Many London homeowners ask this, especially as Airbnb continues to offer profitable rental opportunities.

From late 2018 to mid-2020, the number of Airbnb listings in London experienced an explosive increase, highlighting the surge from roughly 18,000 to over 87,000 listings.

Yet, with this increase in home-sharing comes the need for a clear understanding of the short-term rental regulations within the city. Knowing these rules is essential to avoid any legal issues that could arise.


Understanding the legal status of Airbnb in London.

Are you wondering if you can host an Airbnb in London? Absolutely, you can. London embraces the thriving trend of short-term vacation rentals with open arms, albeit with a set of rules to follow. Recognizing the rise in demand for such accommodations, the British government has implemented regulations that support Airbnb hosting while ensuring it falls in line with municipal regulations.

You'll find that most London Airbnbs are conveniently located right in the heart of the city's hustle and bustle, perfect for both those traveling for leisure and work. These sought-after spots are nestled within London's vibrant districts, places like Mayfair, Shoreditch, Lambeth, Islington, and Southwark.

The increasing demand for Airbnb in London explained.

London effortlessly blends its historic charm with a bustling, contemporary lifestyle, creating the perfect hotspot for those who love a city that never sleeps. It's the city's vibrant cultural tapestry, filled with live music, a thriving nightlife, eclectic eateries, complimentary museums, galleries, and timeless architecture that makes it a premier global destination.

The charm of London generates a high demand for short-term housing options. According to recent travel data, London attracts close to 30 million international visitors each year. A significant number of these travellers find Airbnb to be their preferred choice for a stay that promises both value for money and the comforts of home.

As a premier Smarthost listing, this property captivates visitors with its welcoming ambiance and smart decor. Our expert management contributes to its popularity among guests. The home offers a chic living space and modern amenities, setting the standard for comfort and convenience in London's Airbnb scene.

In London, Airbnb accommodations often provide a more economical and spacious option than traditional hotel rooms. Additionally, the regulations for operating and owning an Airbnb in the city are more relaxed compared to many other international cities. This simplicity benefits both travellers looking for the right place to stay and property owners aiming to be effective hosts on the Airbnb platform.

Regulations for hosting on Airbnb in London

Thinking about putting your property up for short stays on Airbnb in London? It's essential to be aware that you're required to hold a valid licence for short-term letting within the city. The criteria for obtaining this licence can differ based on the specifics of your rental offer.

To get all the details on what you need to secure your licence, head over to the Licence Finder on the UK Government's website.  It's essential for property owners to provide a legitimate registration number in each online advertisement for their short-term rental. Plus, they need to indicate whether the property advertised is their main home or a secondary property.

The 90-day limit for Airbnb rentals in London

To maintain a balance in the short-term housing market, the UK authorities introduced a rule for Airbnb hosts in London, effective from 2017, capping the number of days a property can be let at 90 within a single year. A listing can be rented out for these 90 days booked back-to-back or spread out over the year.

Hosts exceeding this threshold will be considered mid-term rentals or leases, resulting in potential penalties for non-compliance with local rental laws.

Initially, London landlords were required to obtain a planning permit for short-term lets, but the current rule allows them to rent out their properties without this permit, as long as they don't exceed the 90-day limit.

Airbnb has integrated features to assist hosts in following this regulation. Once the 90-day cap is reached, the platform will automatically block the listing from accepting new bookings. Although this rule is essential for managing the rental market, it does impose a cap on the potential income a property owner could earn.

At Smarthost, we offer strategies to maximise your rental income within the confines of these regulations. Keep reading to discover how we can help you make the most of your property investment.

Steps to secure planning permission for your London Airbnb

If you're looking to extend your property rental period beyond the 90-day yearly limit in London, you'll be required to apply for a planning permit. Here's a simplified breakdown of the necessary steps:

  1. Start by filling out and submitting the appropriate application form to your local borough council, making sure to detail your property's features and the intended rental timeframe.
  2. Provide a thorough outline of the expected usage of your property during high-demand seasons, including any conditions such as accommodation for pets, non-smoking provisions, or facilities for children.
  3. There is a £400 fee associated with the application that must be paid upon submission.

It’s important to note that receiving approval for your permit can be quite a complex task, as councils are actively managing the influx of short-term rentals and their effects on the local property market.

To assist you, Smarthost has developed a strategy that could increase your chances of obtaining a permit:

  1.  Make sure your rental property will not disrupt the local community with issues like noise or environmental concerns.
  2.  Think about working with a professional planner who can provide valuable guidance through the application procedure.

Our Smarthost team is on standby to support you with advice and answers as you go through these steps.

Tax insights for managing Airbnb income in London

Earning from Airbnb listings in London is considered taxable income under the category of providing accommodation. The amount of tax you need to pay can differ based on the specifics of your rental situation. For those offering a furnished space in their main residence, there's a tax advantage called "Rent a Room Relief" to consider. This program allows such hosts to earn up to £7,500 per year tax-free. If your earnings exceed this amount, you're obliged to report this income via a self-assessment tax return in the UK and pay any tax due.

This tax rule applies to landlords who rent out entire apartments, regardless of income. If you're curious about how much you could make from your property each month, why not give our easy-to-use earnings calculator a try?

Interested in discovering the earning potential of your property on Airbnb?? Schedule a complimentary consultation with our Airbnb Management London team to assess the profit potential of your property.

Effortless Airbnb management in London with Smarthost

With the complexity of rules and regulations surrounding Airbnb rentals in London, you may be questioning if it's really worth the effort. We at Smarthost are confident in saying that it is. In our experience managing over 200.000 bookings, we’ve found that most legal challenges are linked to poor property management.

Managing a property while balancing other life responsibilities can be quite a task if you're doing it solo. Thankfully, it's not a journey you need to take alone.

At Smarthost, we offer comprehensive assistance throughout your Airbnb journey. From creating and managing your listing, ensuring it meets all the local legal requirements, maximising your income, to taking care of cleaning, laundry, and providing round-the-clock support for guests, as well as regular checks on your property.

Unlock the true potential of your rental property in London with Smarthost - Earn up to 56% more than traditional long lets.

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About SmartHost

We're an expert property management company specializing in short, medium and long lets. Since launching in 2016 we’ve managed over 130,000 stays and have earned our clients and property partners over £38M in revenue.

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