Posted on 18th July 2014

3.2 Million Homeowners Plan Short-Term Lets

Martin Williamson, Head of Residential Property at Latimer Hinks Solicitors

By Martin Williamson, Head of Residential Property, Latimer Hinks Solicitors www.latimerhinks.co.uk

As many as 3.2 million homeowners are planning to rent out parts of their property or their whole property as a short-term let, or take part in a house swap during the next 12 months, according to new research.

UK homeowners can expect to receive around £54 per room per night in rental income with home owners in our region doing better than most at £62 per night, according to the research by Opinium. The figure is topped only by those in the East of England and London, while home owners in Scotland do the worst at a mere £31 a night. However, this could still earn owners of two bedroomed properties around £435 over the course of a week, which homeowners may wish to take advantage of during major events like the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

The research found that of those homeowners already taking part in short-term lets, two thirds swap houses (63 per cent) or rent out their whole property (69 per cent). More than half (58 per cent) already rent out a room in their property on a short-term basis, as they seek to earn extra cash and holidaymakers look for alternatives to more traditional accommodation choices.

Although renting out a property on a short-term basis can create welcome additional income, homeowners should be aware of the risks involved. Only 29 per cent of UK homeowners who have rented out their property for a short period report never having suffered any damage to their properties.

Property damage can be expensive, with the average bill to repair or replace items reported as £326, a collective £1.4 billion. One in five (20 per cent) received a bill of over £500 following renting out their property short term and one in 10 (14 per cent) paid out over £1,000, according to the research.

The upside is the opportunity to supplement income, while the downside is having the trust factor when allowing strangers into the home. It can generally be a good and potentially lucrative experience, particularly if a stay coincides with a sporting event. However homeowners who have rented out for a short period say they have experienced some degree of damage to their property. Some have experienced damage to furniture (29 per cent), soft furnishings (27 per cent), windows, doors and walls (26 per cent), electrical items (16 per cent) and white goods (14 per cent). One in four of these respondents reported theft of items from the house (24 per cent) and home emergency damage, such as plumbing, heating or drainage (23 per cent.)

While its true that short-term lets can be a good way to supplement incomes, especially at holiday times when the owners are away, its vital that home owners protect their properties. This will ensure that income generated from the letting process will not be eaten up by costly repair bills.

Please note: This article is intended as guidance only and does not constitute advice, financial or otherwise. No responsibility for loss occasioned/costs arising as a result of any act/failure to act on the basis of this article can be accepted by Latimer Hinks. In addition, no responsibility for loss occasioned/costs arising as a result of any act/failure to act on the basis of this article can be accepted by the firm.

Martin Williamson is Head of Residential Property at Latimer Hinks Solicitors in Darlington. Latimer Hinks has a team of around 40 people serving private and corporate clients. For further information: www.latimerhinks.co.uk or call 01325 341500.