COP26: Glasgow offers short-term rental landlords one year of rent

PROPERTY owners with “airbnb style” short term rentals are offered one year’s rent for two week stays at this year’s COP26 climate conference in Glasgow.

AirUs, based in the city center, said all 73 of its registered hosts were booked for the event, which will be held Nov. 1-12 and will host world leaders and according to US President Joe Biden – Pope Francis.

The company has called on more homeowners to register to meet rental demand.

A company spokesperson declined to comment on how much the properties are being marketed for, but said the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom property in Glasgow is £ 500, meaning owners could rake in thousands at a time when reservations are generally quieter.

Another company, BNB Host, said all of its downtown properties were booked and said it had not seen the same level of demand since the city hosted the Commonwealth Games.

READ MORE: Airbnb to donate £ 5 for every booking in Edinburgh to ‘rebalance tourism’

Some owners are said to have charged up to £ 1,000 per night for accommodation at the event in 2014.

There is evidence that the number of short-term rentals in cities like Glasgow and Edinburgh has dropped significantly during the pandemic lockdown as travel bans have been enforced and many landlords have moved to the more sustainable rental market.

Professor John Lennon, director of the Moffat Center for Travel and Tourism Business Development at Glasgow Caledonian University, said some landlords might not be able to take advantage of the lucrative COP26 rates because they are tied to longer-term leases.

He said: “The way it has worked in the towns of Scotland is that a lot of landlords have moved back into the private rental sector.

“It happened very markedly in Edinburgh, but it also happened in Glasgow. Landlords are trying to generate income as the visitor market dries up which is good for the rental fleet.

“But that reduces the supply (of short-term rentals). In order for them to get it back, you depend on the type of lease you have entered into with your tenants.

READ MORE: Scottish tourism industry warns SNP’s new Airbnb crackdown fails

“I think a lot of owners are going to think, well it’s COP26, but what will the rest of the year be like. This is their real concern because the recovery of the towns has been much slower than the recovery of the rural Highlands and Islands.

“We have seen a complete overthrow. Normally Scotland is ruled by its cities.”

Thousands of delegates from around the world are expected to attend COP26, depending on the public health situation, including official negotiators, representing 197 different countries.

About 10,000 police will be deployed each day during the summit.

Professor Lennon said COP26 would give a welcome boost in the short term to hotels in Glasgow which he said were “one of the hardest hit cities”.

READ MORE: Glasgow joins program to reduce fossil fuel consumption in the run-up to COP26

A spokeswoman for the Kimpton Blythswood and voco Grand Central hotels said both are full and her Edinburgh hotels are also taking bookings for COP26 due to limited availability in Glasgow.

“Actually, it’s great, but it’s the following,” Professor Lennon said. “You need more sustainable demand in the medium and long term.”

An AirUs spokesperson said: “Glasgow has a proven track record of hosting big events on the world stage, with Glasgow hospitality second to none.

“Now is a great time to list your property with AirUs – our hosts pull the same rental amount over the two week conference as they normally would in a year.”

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