Mega-wealthy Airbnb Company Growth Explodes in Brighton and Hove
Mega-wealthy Airbnb Companies have truly landed in Brighton and Hove, a city which currently has a drop in new births as announced in the recent Census 2021, has seen more and more key workers turning to desperate measures to secure a home, like the 37 key workers who were evicted from Knoll House last year and were living in a guardianship housing scheme, sanctioned by no elected councillors or committees and then were evicted with no notice.
With 2200 households in temporary accommodation, of which many council tenants have recently seen a massive rise in rents which have gone up as much as 11% in the last year.
Can Brighton and Hove really afford to invite these mega-wealthy Airbnb companies to exist here in the city?
We are a city in urgent need of new housing which meets the genuine needs of this community first.
This means Thousands more Council and Social Homes, the right types of new developments, and those which are truly affordable and marketed to the need we have locally.
Firstly to declare I’ve used Airbnb, some experiences good others not so good. The vast majority of hosts are people utilising say a spare room, or renting their home out, say whilst away for the summer and in turn staying somewhere else, it’s very economical.
Many hosts need the extra cash to get by.
But there is another type of Host and these are the “Mega Hosts” or companies that operate the market as a form of profit, super profits, and all is not what meets the eye.
At first glance, many people who walk past these properties would assume say someone local lives there, maybe a retail worker or young couple / retired folk because they look like residential homes or apartments from the outside.
Open closer inspection via a wonderful website called AirDNA which tracks AirBNB and other holiday rentals, the Air DNA property listings Tracker highlights Brighton and Hove has a serious issue in terms of these mega hosts and investment vehicles existing here in such large numbers now.
The wider loss of what would have been residential use-only homes to what is now essentially a commercial bnb hotel operation, many on the more luxury side of the market, or catering for the stag and hen groups, who converge on the city every weekend, is causing devastation to our seaside community.
Airbnb market constituency by constituency
Pavilion Constituency Active Rentals
This map of the Pavilion Constituency shows that there are 1,077 active rentals, of which 79% are entire home rentals. Just 11% the massive minority are for rooms to stay in, which often benefits the occupant and is a residential property.
Hove Constituency Active Rentals
Hove fairs slightly better than Pavilion Constituency (this map excludes Portslade) shows that there are 674 active rentals, of which 74% are entire home rentals.
Brighton Kemptown Constituency Active Rentals
Brighton Kemptown has 977 active rentals, of which 71% are entire home rentals. Note there are more 3 & 4 bedroom homes in this area listed for entire home rentals.
Mega Hosts & The Wider Issue
Looking further into those three areas of the city you see there are 2,728 active listings, of which about 74% are entire home/apartment rentals. There are around 4,000 to 5,000 households on the council housing register, with hundreds and hundreds of people posting for little things like an affordable room to rent. We do keep seeing cranes and new housing developments being completed in the city, but the cites record in holding developers to account by delivering truly affordable homes and the 40% target has been poor.
Last year I tackled a developer and their agent at a planning committee due to the agent from Savills trying to get away with cutting the number of affordable homes promised. The wonderful Chris Bailey from the Campaign against Empty Homes said:
“Increasingly people are investing in Airbnb almost the way they’d invest in a commercial property.
The home is managed by another company by another Middleman they may have numerous listings on Airbnb and essentially they’re just indigenous investment property this is essentially property being sucked out of the use”. You can read more about Chris’s excellent speech on The Hidden Costs of Empty Homes and Second Homes in the UK Housing Crisis.
Mega Host Air BNB Listings
Creatick, My Getaways, Sharphaus & Supercity are some of the players in the city who are denying local people the homes they desperately need. I would urge people to look closer yourselves.
In fact, I will likely write an update to this article with the extra information when I have time to look closer.
Pretty frustrating stuff if you are someone spending hours and hours every week in vein trying to find a suitable and affordable place to live in this city. I would recommend you read the excellent opinion article from Emma Brockes who says “Airbnb was wild, disruptive and cheap: we loved it. But it wasn’t a love strong enough to last
How The Council and Administration Should Act To Counter This
I would highly urge them to adopt a AirBNB Levy or Tourism Tax, say 10%, specifically applied to the entire home listings and Mega Host market really and to compensate the public and community with a new income levy which would generate money to improve our communities and build the new homes we desperately need in the city. This could be expanded in time. But I would start with This option, to at a minimum claw back some of the losses.
We do need to see better consultation with local people and local Neighbourhood plans, especially in the areas affected should include more on the housing need and limit the numbers if that particular ward is saturated with advert listings.
In August 2021, Barcelona became the first major city in Europe to ban short-term private room rentals. In LA, meanwhile, the city council passed laws restricting Airbnb and similar platforms to those renting out their primary residence.
So if they can do it why cant we, powers to limit the numbers and/or ban should be on the cards!
This policy does not affect the majority of Genuine Hosts!