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Graham Awards


Airbnb landlords should pay business rates, says council

A council is lobbying the government to ask for landlords using Airbnb and other short let platforms to be charged business rates.

The move would be to level the playing field with buy to let long-term landlords and hoteliers, and may deter the proliferation of anti-social behaviour associated with tenants renting via Airbnb and similar services.

The move comes from Brighton and Hove council, which says Airbnb has an unfair advantage compared with hotels and regular B&Bs.


“Hotels and B&Bs must be licensed by councillors, but Airbnb houses don’t need licensing … Airbnb hosts make money the same way as hotels and other B&Bs. That’s why they should pay business rates … It’s very unfair competition” a local councillors is quoted as telling the Brighton Argus.

“Put a flat on Airbnb is essentially taking it out of the market for local people … It’s like in Cornwall where you can go to towns where most of the houses are second homes.”

The city council also believes introducing business rates for properties could be part of the solution to “party houses” – Airbnb homes which are rented by revellers to celebrate in.

An Airbnb spokesman told the Argus that the platform “helps spread and diversify tourism in Brighton while extending benefits to local families and businesses”.

Tighter controls over Airbnb and similar services are underway in Scotland where the devolved government has introduced measures allowing local councils to operate licensing systems on Airbnb hosts from 2021.

At least one other English council is also seeking backing from the Westminster government for greater powers over short let regulation.

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    Something needs to be done to counter Airbnb taking so many long term rental options from renters across the UK. This a decent start... I would go further and charge hosts the same corporation tax that hotels have to pay, despite employing many people across the country, collecting VAT for the government and paying high levels of corporation taxes.


    The best thing that could be done is to undo S24 and other attacks. These are what pushes landlords in other directions.


    'Something needs to be done'... Ridiulous. AirBNB are 'taking' nothing from no-one. Property owners are and should be allowed to do what they want with their properties and there is CLEARLY a market for short term letting. Handicapping businesses and investors for responding to market conditions and giving people what they want is the height of stupidity. Hotels will have to respond accordingly... that's what you do when innovative businesses come along and industries change, you change with the times or go under. That's how the consumer benefits. As for councils.. they are nothing more than pigs trying to get their noses into the trough in any way they can.

    James B

    joke yes ? what a crazy suggestion on many levels.

  • Suzy OShea

    Most holiday letting platforms take adverts at face value with no inspections at all. this can often result in the clients getting scammed and the letting site has no control, so inspections by councils to ensure such properties meet the minimum health and safety standards such as gas safety certificates, carbon monoxide alarms in rooms with boilers and gas hobs, smoke alarms in other parts of the house.

    regarding 'party houses' advertised on Air bnb, unless their nearest neighbours are half a mile away, these should be shut down with heavy fines. Business rates ought to be charged on Air bnb and other holiday properties in any case.

    So Air BnB benefits the local economy does it? Well hardly! Most people who have second homes in the country arrive from town having visited a supermarket en route. they hardly support their local shops because these offer less choice and their prices are higher. Local, long-term tenants do support the local economy.


    Should Rightmove start checking that landlords are meeting their obligations then? No, of course not, because it's none of their business, just as it's none of AirBNB's business if oweners aren't meeting theirs. It's a MARKETING platform, nothing to do with compliance, and neither should it be.

    Oh, and I hate to break it to you, but a local economy is more than just a supermarket! There are all sorts of people using AirBNB for all sorts of reasons. In turn these people use all sorts of local businesses, in fact if anything, short term letters will spend MORE relatively speaking than traditional tenants. Only an idiot would argue otherwise.

  • icon

    I don’t have any Air BnBs but what about the revenue they bring to the area. Invariably they are used for short breaks? Just a thought

  • lilly diep

    Who loves paying tax? No one. However paying tax isn't a bad thing as it helps the economy but because air bnb can only advertise 90 days per year per property then I believe to be fair on those landlord Lords using air bnb could advertise longer than just 90 days. World is evolving, new business are arising. You have online shop that are competitor to high Street retailers, you have uber over taxis, online agents etc, if air bnb are a competitor then there is competition and so B&B and hotels just needs to evolve/adapt or even find a way to collaborate with each other. Just a thought.


    Paying tax doesn't help the economy. There is no use of money more wasteful and inefficient than the revenue that government's collect in tax.

    • 17 January 2020 15:35 PM

    Absolute TWADDLE!!!
    There is not one single AitBnB that is legal.
    All of it is fraudulent.
    Not one of the AirBnB hosts has
    Permission from an insurer
    Permission from a freeholder
    Permission from Council planning dept.....................everyone just uses different platforms for fraudulent short term lettings.
    Permission from mortgage provider.
    You show me any AirBnB listing and I'll prove it is fraudulent.

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    • 17 January 2020 15:52 PM

    As for RM not being responsible for listings.
    If EVERY letting property was required to have a licence then no licence no no RM listing.
    However there is no appetite in Govt for a cheap National LL licensing scheme doing away with all other licensing schemes.............wonder why!!??

  • icon

    Business rates relief will likely make Air BnB more profitable in areas where rateable value is lower. I.e. the North. There’s no BR payable under £12k and if a host plans his business properly he or she won’t be paying such. Give more responsibility to the Council & Police to tackle noise pollution from the people who are causing the nuisance! It’s about time this Country stopped expecting others to regulate such as Landlords whom have zero control over tenants behaviour. Some Tenants (short & long term) have little or no respect and punishing Landlords just sends a message saying it’s ok for Tenants to do what they want in my opinion.

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    • 20 January 2020 19:35 PM

    How can Councils participate in fraud!?
    There are very few legitimate short term lettings that comply with Council; mortgage lender, insurer, freeholder, lease conditions.
    So how could councils charge business rates to what would be a criminal enterprise!!??
    There is a massive failure in the PRS to recognize that mass fraud is occurring with different types of short term letting.
    It is a fact that many LA are complicit in tgese fraudulent short term lettings.
    I have many fraudster LL in my block letting to AirBnB when it is specifically stated in the lease that only AST lettings are permitted.
    The Managing Agents know this as I have grassed up those fraudster LL but still the MA refuse to do anything about the ongoing fraud.
    I invested in RESIDENTIAL property NOT a potential de facto hotel block!!!
    Now worse case scenario is a fire in one of these illegal AirBnB flats in my block.
    The block insurance would not cover the flat damage though it would probably cover losses to other flat occupants.
    Though taking it to the enth degree I wonder how block insurance would cover all other flat owner losses in the event of a total burnout!?
    It is a fact that block insurance doesn't cover loss of rent.
    It would be highly unlikely a tenant would bother continuing with a LL waiting for the flat to be repaired by block insurance even if housed by the insurance company.
    There is NOT one single block insurer in the UK that will pay for loss of rent whilst repairing a flat.
    It is illegal to have two building insurance policies on the same flat.
    Only LL with houses are able to have such rent loss insurance policies.
    Very few flat owning LL are aware of these issues
    Residential occupiers should be greatly concerned as to the risks to their investments by fraudster LL or other leaseholders.
    Of course there is also a significant issue where LL are oblivious that tenants are engaging in fraudulent short term lettings at their properties.

  • icon

    I am both a private landlord and an Airbnb host. Many comments on here are offensive to decent Airbnb hosts. I chose the Airbnb route after two dreadful long term tenants who made my life and that of my family absolute hell. People need to get their facts right before slating decent, law abiding hosts who arguably are helping the local economy as guests use the nearby shops, pubs and eateries etc during their stay.

    • 12 March 2020 06:36 AM

    I bet you are a fraudster AirBnB host.
    I doubt very much whether you are correctly insured or your lender knows what you are doing.
    You are just one of many probable fraudster LL.
    Of course I DON'T blame you gaming the system.
    I would do as you do if circumstances were appropriate.

    LL have been forced to turn to fraudulent short-term lettings because of bonkers Govt regulations like S24 etc.

    I guess there must be some insurers out there that will insure a residential property being used for short-term letting.
    I've only heard of one lender offering BTL AirBnB mortgages.
    I bet you haven't got one.
    You may well be a very good AirBnB host but you are still committing fraud.
    I bet your BTL mortgage if you have one specifies only AST of no longer than 1 year is required.
    Just accept mass fraud is occurring though for completely understandable reasons which I totally support.
    Get rid of S24 and LL will return to normal AST lettings.
    But Govt is too stupid to do this.
    So the gaming of BTL with short-term lettings will continue to expand much to the increasing detriment of tenants!

  • icon

    Watch prices tumble in Brighton and Hove, especially as Ms Lucas also wants to impose a London style, 90 day a year Airbnb restriction.

    It's about time really. Locals can't afford the toppy prices created by greedy investors buying Brighton property based on 10-15% Airbnb yields.

    The Brighton bubble is most definitely just about to burst.


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