Airbnb listings in Manchester up 226% in four years, report says

According to the report, at least 55% of all Airbnb listings in Manchester belong to owners with more than one property.

A new report raises concerns about the proliferation of Airbnb and other short-term rental (STL) platforms in Manchester after finding Airbnb listings soared 226%.

The report, by academics, journalists and members of the Greater Manchester Tenants Union (GMTU) and Greater Manchester Housing Action (GMHA), found that the number of Airbnbs in Manchester fell from 865 in May 2016 to 2 820 in May 2020, an increase of 226%.

The report, based on data from the lobby group Inside Airbnbindicates that the highest incidences of Airbnb listings in May 2020 were the city center with 462, the Ancoats and Clayton areas (386), Cheetham Hill (185), Hulme (143), Moss Side (140) and Rusholme ( 123).

The report’s authors note the dominance of Airbnb in Manchester by professional landlords. At least 54.9% of all listings in the city in October 2020 belonged to owners with more than one property.

According to the report, landlords have a strong incentive to turn their properties into Airbnb listings. While a landlord could charge £750 a month for a two-bedroom flat in Hulme, he could earn £936 a month if he had people staying in the house for 18 days of the month, or £1,248 a month for 24 days of the month.

“Airbnb continues to promote the ‘sharing economy’ narrative,” the report said. “But eleven years later, this founding mantra has faded.

“The fundamental claim that Airbnb allows people to ‘share’ parts of their homes that might otherwise not be used, or where they cannot live there, continues to feature in all of the company’s promotional materials. and its media advocacy.But the proportion of ads on the platform that match the sharing narrative is tiny.

The report’s authors warn that, if pre-pandemic growth trends continue unabated, Airbnb could exclude more than 4,000 households or 9,400 residents by 2030. In Manchester, there are 12,893 households on the waiting list for social housing in 2021.

“It’s like a nightclub next door”

Far from enriching communities through the influx of tourists, Airbnb has caused antisocial behavior and disruption among neighbors, according to the report.

A resident of Moss Side, where researchers found 167 listings in February 2020, told researchers “it’s like a nightclub next door,” which was an Airbnb listing.

Another resident in the same area said there was a complete lack of accountability from owners of commercial short-term rentals (STRs). “That Airbnb next door, I don’t know who owns it. So, who should I address my concerns to? ” he asks. “Normally if there’s a nuisance issue you can hold someone accountable and there can be some sort of grievance procedure.” The same resident said Airbnb “seems to have the council’s blessing.”

Manchester City Council said it “shared the concern” of the report’s authors over short-term rentals and acknowledged there could be potential tension between tourists and locals. A council spokesperson said:

“In recent years, Manchester has become a very popular destination, which has led to significant growth in the short-term rental market. But it must be balanced and appropriate for the community the properties are in.

“We understand that there can often be conflicts between long-term residents and people using short-term rentals – such as noise disturbance and litter issues – and we actively encourage residents to report these issues so that our teams can follow up with owners and managers to deal with problems at source.

What could Manchester City Council do?

Councils currently do not have the power to limit Airbnb, as Airbnb listings are in the same planning class as regular homes.

This means that councils like Manchester City Council cannot distinguish between a regular home and an Airbnb listing, preventing them from implementing measures that would prevent landlords from listing their homes on Airbnb. A Manchester City Council spokesperson said:

“Unfortunately, current planning legislation is such that there is little difference between short-term rentals and residential properties in terms of permissions for use, and there has been little appetite for national level to change legislation that would allow local authorities to do more,” a spokesperson said.

“This means the council is often unaware of when a property is being used as a short-term rental – making local knowledge of residents essential to ensure that where they are functioning and well managed. We built a database of short-term rentals using the vital intelligence of local residents, enabling us to resolve issues directly with landlords.

“However, we have taken action as part of Council Built Developments to include clauses that prevent landlords from using the properties as anything other than traditional residential homes, in an effort to prevent communities being separated by vacation rentals.

The government should change planning laws to empower councils in England to limit Airbnb, but there are precedents where the government has changed planning laws to allow councils to limit the number of homes used in particular ways.

In 2010 the government introduced legislation to separate multiple occupancy homes (HMOs) – where three or more unrelated people share a single home – from regular homes and place them in their own planning class. Local authorities could then decide whether or not to introduce local rules to require planning permission for any change from a regular house to an HMO.

“If short-term rentals were given their own class of use in the same way as HMOs, they could be prohibited by law, with local plans setting out the circumstances in which councils would allow and deny them, such as areas high concentration or residential areas. need,” a GMTU spokesperson said.

The report’s authors call on Manchester’s political leaders and their GM allies to ‘pressure the national government to facilitate a properly enforceable regulatory approach’, such as a mandatory registration scheme requiring hosts to apply for a permit or license from the guidance for whole house listings, and rules that platforms only accept ads and transactions from registered hosts.

Mandatory registration has been effective in curbing the proliferation of Airbnb in other European cities, they point out. Barcelona, ​​for example, managed to reduce the number of STRs by 70%.

The report’s authors also make recommendations on how to manage Airbnb listings after they’ve been created. They highlight Oxford and Cambridge as cases of councils effectively blocking DOS through enforcement notices.

They recommend that council make the process of informing council as simple as possible by meeting with local residents, community groups and others affected by the STR and keeping them regularly informed of what is being done to reduce nuisance and protect their neighborhoods, as well as providing a council-appointed primary point of contact for residents who are negatively affected by STRs.

The authors also draw attention to Manchester Council’s ongoing attempts to negotiate a ‘charter’ with the Short Term Accommodation Association (STAA) which represents companies like Airbnb. This would define best practices for hosts and emphasize the shared responsibility of hosts and their guests to the local community. The researchers dismiss this as “unenforceable.”

“We are calling on Manchester City Council to act to prevent further rapid growth of the destructive commercial sector and restore short-term rental business to legitimately rent out spare rooms to paying customers.”

To read the full report – Short Term Rentals in Manchester: Time To Act – Click here.

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Featured image: Airbnb composite logo with Manchester Meteor aerial photo.

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