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Sep 7, 2016: Fewer homes for rent

Landlords are taking their flats off the open market, and advertising them instead on holiday websites like Airbnb, warns an industry report. The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) claims the trend will mean fewer homes for rent, exacerbating the housing shortage. It claims that rents could rise as a result, particularly in London. However, Airbnb disputes the findings and denies that a growing number of its clients are landlords. In its report, the RLA says 41% of properties advertised on Airbnb in the capital are multiple listings - in other words involve one owner advertising several properties. There are particular tax advantages for landlords who rent out their properties as short-term holiday lets, rather than rent them out with long tenancy agreements. By next year, such landlords will not be able to claim tax relief on mortgage interest payments. houses in London In other cases, the RLA is concerned that landlords using Airbnb to rent out properties for more than three months may be doing so to avoid planning regulations. "Given the pressures faced in the capital it is important that properties advertised as being available for more than 90 days a year are genuine holiday lets with appropriate planning permission," said RLA policy director David Smith. "Otherwise, as well as taking rental stock off the market for those looking for somewhere to live, they are also putting tenants in a vulnerable position without all the protections offered by a tenancy agreement." In other countries Airbnb is encountering tougher regulation. Authorities in Berlin have passed laws which limit the likes of Airbnb to renting out rooms, rather than whole flats or houses. Since doing so, rents have reportedly moderated.

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