Bristol landlords enjoy lucrative short-term rentals

As properties are advertised at sky-high prices, there have been calls for regulation of short-term and holiday rentals in Bristol.

Drawing: Laurence Ware

A group of experienced Bristol landlords have flats rented out at sky-high prices for short-term rentals, Cable can reveal.

According to land registry documents, four members of the Baryah family own a building adjacent to an off-license they manage on Fishponds Road, which contains five newly listed apartments for a combined total of £18,500 per month.

It’s just one example of Bristol landlords taking advantage of short-term rentals at inflated prices, a worrying trend that means tenants struggling to cope have access to even less affordable housing.

The chic serviced apartments, advertised on Rightmove by agency Keller Williams for between £3,500 and £4,000 a month, are described as ‘perfect for a city break or professional work in the area’.

Cable research found that Jasbir and Gurdip Baryah have 21 licenses to rent properties between them in Bristol alone, and there have been past examples of their tenants living in poor conditions.

More recently, in 2020, Jasbir Baryah became the target of a campaign by ACORN community union after its tenant would have had to deal with extreme humidity.

One such tenant, who spoke to Cable on condition of anonymity, said she endured a “complete nightmare” when she and her partner moved into an apartment in Clifton during the pandemic that was so musty it made them sick. They only moved in on the promise of the letting agent, Phoenix Properties, that the problem would be fixed, but had to move months later when that was not the case. With the help of ACORN, they finally secured a rent refund totaling almost £1,000.

The tenant said he had no direct contact with his landlord, but did nothing to fix the problem. “We should never have been put in this position, it was unbearable. But the owner didn’t want to spend the money.

Jasbir and Gurdip Baryah did not respond to Cable’s request for comment on their use of short-term rentals and past examples of their tenants living in poor conditions.

One of the apartments offered for short-term rental on Rightmove

“A very attractive option for owners”

The Baryahs, who have rented several properties in the city for years, are now branching out into the short-term rental market. With rates per night ranging from £85 to £135, their apartments on Fishponds Road are listed on Rightmove for short and long-term rentals, as well as on Booking.com for holidaymakers and Mia Living, which markets properties from short-term luxury. allow.

They are not the only ones. Cable analysis of Rightmove listings from the first half of 2022 showed more than 100 properties were listed as short-term rentals. Unsurprisingly, they are among the most expensive properties, with many costing over £2,000 a month for one and two bed properties.

Most of these listings are through estate agents Hopewell, who claim landlords could earn 20% more money by renting out their property short-term. Self-proclaimed experts in this field claim that this “very attractive option” is “increasingly popular”.

Other examples of properties advertised by Hopewell as short or medium term rentals include £2,650 for a two-bed house in Whitehall and a two-bed flat for £2,700 in Filton.

Airbnb listings in Bristol compiled in June showed two-thirds were entire properties rather than private rooms, indicating the site is heavily used by people with second homes or businesses offering short-term or holiday rentals . A total of 37% of listings came from hosts with multiple properties.

There have been recent calls for greater regulation of this. In 2016, London banned Airbnb hosts from renting entire properties for more than 90 nights a year, citing the need to “protect London’s existing housing supply, for the benefit of permanent residents”.

Such rules do not exist outside the capital, but Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees recently called on local authorities to be given more powers to tackle the ‘nasty challenge’ posed by landlords converting their houses and apartments for Airbnb rentals. “We are concerned – anything that compromises people’s ability to have affordable and stable housing in the city concerns me,” he said.

Bristol West MP Thangam Debonnaire also expressed concern about short-term rentals and second homes advertised on Airbnb, saying they are “disrupting our market”. She said large parts of the city center are full of empty houses most of the time, Airbnb’s self-relegation is not working for Bristolians and councils need more powers to regulate the issue.

In January, Scottish politicians have approved a national short-term housing scheme which will require landlords to register properties from October. And now the UK government has released a consultation on the impact of short-term rentals and the potential introduction of a tourist accommodation registration system in England.

Dan Wilson Craw, Deputy Director of Generation Rent, said: “Holiday rentals are a lucrative business and landlords can often get more income by renting their property to tourists during the summer than by renting it out to tenants all year. year, which sucks homes off the long-term market and drives up rents.

“It is welcome to see the action of the governments in Scotland and England on registration,” he added. “We need these systems to stop criminal landlords from continuing to operate, and local councils should have the power to set a limit on holiday rentals within their plot.”

Wilson Craw also pointed to the need for taxation that encourages landlords to make housing available to people who need it, such as a higher council tax for holiday homes, and closing the loophole which allows holiday operators to claim tax relief on their mortgage interest.

When apartments in Bristol are rented for £4,000 a month, but thousands of tenants in Bristol are struggling to afford to live or find a place in the first place, it is clear that something has gone wrong.

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