Scarborough, one of the Yorkshire coast’s most popular holiday spots, sees thousands of visitors every year, with a high demand for holiday lets and Airbnb properties surging as we head towards the summer months. For landlords, swapping from residential to holiday letting can mean more money and much less stress.
A local Scarborough letting agent Mary, spoke out about how landlords have ‘had enough’ after discovering they can make more money in the holiday rental market. Speaking to Yorkshire Live, Mary said landlords are simply selling up.
“The way landlords have been treated by the Government, especially during Covid has made a lot of them sell up.”
During the Covid pandemic, tenants had the option to take a holiday on their rental payments as thousands of people were on furlough or made redundant. Mary claimed: “A lot of people saw Covid as an excuse not to pay, they didn’t realise it was just a holiday. Landlords could only apply to the courts for eviction after six months of rent arrears. Which meant many landlords were without payment for over six months.
“A lot of landlords aren’t big businesses, in fact, many of them only have one or two properties, losing six months of rent plus court fees is a lot of money to one person.”
Mary also claimed landlords are sick of tenants leaving their rental properties ruined or damaged: “We went to a property yesterday to do a checkout and it was disgusting. This guy has been given a section-21 because the landlord is wanting to do the property up and let it as a holiday let because it is down by the seafront.
“When he left the property was disgusting and there was no bond left because his rent arrears were over £900. For every bad tenant, there are five good tenants, but sadly the bad ones ruin it.
“Landlords don’t want pets either, you get people who look after the property but you get one who doesn’t and they ruin it for everyone. We have a tenant at the minute whose child has literally drawn on every wall in the property and they said ‘It’s fine I’ll paint it before I leave.’ That’s not the point, it does get frustrating. That’s partly why landlords want to do holiday lets but also party because of money.”
2019 saw the introduction of a tenant fee ban, meaning letting agents now charge an admin fee to landlords each time the tenancy changes, instead of charging tenants. Higher bonds used to also be taken from people with pets but the Tenancy Act also prevents this.
Many landlords are also charging more for those with pets, with the extra money going on cleaning the property at the end of the tenancy as the act states tenants don’t have to clean properties when they move out.
“The government have come right down on the side of the tenants, landlords have no incentive to rent anymore. As much as they get the mortgage paid for at the end of tenancy they are having to spend a lot of money to get properties ready and back into a state where they are able to let them.
“I’m a big believer in a landlord shouldn’t let a property that they wouldn’t live in themselves, but I also think tenants need to look after properties as if they were their own and not living in a hotel.
“We get the most crazy demands from tenants that feel because they are paying the rent that means that the landlord is getting the rent as an income, but it’s not, it’s paying the mortgage and paying the insurances. Landlords don’t make a lot at all and tenants think they are rich and they are not.”
“If the government aren’t going to give incentives for landlords to be landlords then they need to build more social housing. Landlords are trying to make as much money as they can by turning properties into holiday lets because it is more profitable.”
Mary added that her letting agency has lost 10-15 properties in the past few months after landlords sold up: “It looks like landlords are being harsh but they just can’t afford it anymore. With Airbnb, you are making three times as much as you would on a long term let, in half the time and less damage.”