Help for land­lords who want to switch to Airbnb

An en­tre­pre­neur­ial cou­ple are help­ing city cen­tre land­lords turn their flats into Airbnb pads. Sharon Dale re­ports.

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY NEWS -

TURN­ING A con­ven­tional city cen­tre rental prop­erty into an Airbnb pad can be lu­cra­tive and tax-ef­fi­cient but it’s also labour­in­ten­sive.

That’s why some land­lords have been loath to make the change even though the re­turns can be dou­ble and, in some cases, more.

Airbnb, es­tab­lished in

Amer­ica in 2008, was set up to al­low home­own­ers to let their spare room or an en­tire prop­erty for short pe­ri­ods. Man­ag­ing book­ings, meet­ing and greet­ing guests, clean­ing, chang­ing beds and stock­ing the fridge are all part of the work­load if you are a host of­fer­ing to let a “whole house or flat”. It adds up to a huge amount of work and a lot of to­ing and fro-ing.

Now, one en­tre­pre­neur­ial cou­ple have come up with a plan to make it much eas­ier. Dave Han­son and his part­ner, Sanita, have launched Palis, a busi­ness spe­cial­is­ing in ser­vic­ing Airbnb apart­ments in Leeds city cen­tre.

They al­ready have plenty of ex­pe­ri­ence af­ter man­ag­ing Dave’s two-bed­room du­plex and pro­vid­ing hol­i­day cover for a prop­erty owner in the same build­ing. Sanita also has her own clean­ing com­pany and has worked in house­keep­ing for top ho­tels.

Dave, who also owns a print­ing busi­ness, says: “We moved into a house in Mor­ley to­gether, which left me with an empty flat. I de­cided to give Airbnb a go but I’d never used it my­self so I went to stay as a guest in other prop­er­ties to get a feel for how it worked. I put the flat on the site and the re­sponse was amaz­ing. I got a two-week book­ing within 12 hours and I am now mak­ing more than dou­ble what I would’ve got if I had rented it out on a short­hold ten­ancy.”

He has let the apart­ment for just over a year and charges £99 per night for a week­day and £125 per night at week­ends. His guests have ranged from aca­demics vis­it­ing nearby uni­ver­si­ties to week­enders and those vis­it­ing fam­ily and friends.

The flat is now classed as a hol­i­day let, which is more tax­ef­fi­cient than a con­ven­tional buy-to-let prop­erty. From April this year, land­lords’ abil­ity to deduct the cost of their mort­gage in­ter­est from their rental in­come will be phased out. Fur­nished hol­i­day lets are not af­fected by this clam­p­down as they are classed as a busi­ness. This clas­si­fi­ca­tion also means that

HOL­I­DAY HOME IN THE CITY: cap­i­tal gains tax is levied at 10 per cent rather than the 20 per cent for con­ven­tional rental prop­erty. To qual­ify, your prop­erty must be avail­able at least 210 days of the year and has to be let for at least 105 days.

Those let­ting their own main res­i­dence through Airbnb will not have to de­clare or pay tax on the first £1,000 they earn un­der rules that start from April this year. More gen­er­ous is the Renta-Room scheme, which al­lows home­own­ers to earn £7,500 through rent­ing a room in their home via Airbnb or by rent­ing to a full-time lodger with­out hav­ing to pay any tax at all.

Dave and Sanita’s busi­ness was born af­ter help­ing their neigh­bour, Tom Har­vey, look af­ter his one-bed­room apart­ment when he was away. Their prices start from £30 to clean, change the beds and greet guests.

“We re­alised there was a need so we are of­fer­ing ev­ery­thing from clean­ing, wash­ing, iron­ing and re­stock­ing to greet­ing guests through to full man­age­ment, in­clud­ing deal­ing with book­ings,” says Dave. “We can do it full-time if needed or as hol­i­day cover, as we do for Tom.”

For 10 years, Tom let his flat for £600 per month in rent with no short­age of long-term ten­ants. Since let­ting the prop­erty in Airbnb, he has tre­bled his in­come to an av­er­age of £1,800 a month

Both he and Sanita have a back­ground in hos­pi­tal­ity, which has helped enor­mously as on Airbnb you live or die by your rat­ings. She says: “Clean­li­ness is very, very im­por­tant. One bad re­view can re­ally af­fect your rat­ings.”

While Dave and Sanita’s let is suc­cess­ful, they had to learn the hard way to be­gin with. He says: “You have to check your guests’ feed­back. Right at the be­gin­ning we didn’t do that and let it to a young girl who was new to the site so she had no re­views. She had a party with 17 guests and left the flat in an aw­ful state. We didn’t make that mis­take again.”

For de­tails of Palis Airbnb ser­vice visit palis­cle­an­ing.co.uk

Dave’s du­plex apart­ment is now let through Airbnb. He has launched a busi­ness ser­vic­ing other lets.

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