Hostmaker pulls holiday ads after backlash

Michael Lloyd

June 3, 2019

Holiday lets platform Hostmaker will take down adverts from the London transport network which encouraged landlords to ditch their long-term tenants in favour of more short-term lets.

This follows a petition by Generation Rent on the 38 Degrees website which gathered more than 8,000 signatures in the space of 12 days, calling on Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to remove the ads.

Brokers have also been critical of the ads, which said landlords could make 30% more by letting on a short-term basis, for encouraging profiteering at the expense of first-time buyers and long-term renters.

Nakul Sharma, chief executive of Hostmaker, said: “The adverts will be coming down this weekend and we will be reviewing all future creatives with our partners.”

The petition had asked Khan to remove the adverts from the transport network because they were at odds with his goal of making renting more affordable in the city.

Dan Wilson Craw, director of Generation Rent, added: “The growing short-term lets market is taking homes away from ordinary Londoners, pushing up rents and eroding the capital’s local communities.

“These adverts were an attack on the city and we are glad that Hostmaker is now doing the right thing and taking them down.

“But it is still far too easy for landlords to take homes out of the long-term rental market in pursuit of higher profits. We need much stronger regulation of the holiday lets market so that we can give all Londoners an affordable home.”

Martin Stewart, director of London Money, was on the side of Generation Rent.

He said: “It is yet another example of properties being ripped from the supply chain and used for profiteering and at the expense of first-time buyers and genuine long-term renters.

“The wider industry does need to address the issue as more and more people are using the short term/weekend holiday let model while borrowing money at residential rates or via back door buy-to-lets, which have been let on supposed long-term assured short hold tenancies (ASTs).

“There is nothing wrong with owning property and nothing wrong if you happen to make money from it, but we need to move away from the obsession with rinsing as much money as you can from such an important asset and start approaching the issue with a bigger social conscience.

“The possible solution to this is the full regulation of any property transaction outside of a principal primary residence.”

Dilpreet Bhagrath, customer experience manager and company spokeswoman at online mortgage broker, Trussle, said more care needs to be taken to ensure housing is accessible for everyone.

She said: “Short-term lets can result in higher priced rentals, which in turn can delay or even prevent renters from stepping on the property ladder. With the rapid house price growth and rising living costs in London over the last few years, home ownership can already feel so out of reach for many.

“The reality is that short-term lets are more difficult to mortgage as the rental income can be more risky. Properties that are let for longer periods can often prove more profitable in the long run, however rent is not guaranteed with any buy-to-let property.

“Typically, lenders prefer the stability of a long-term tenant, and don’t tend to accept short-term lets of less than six months.

“However, with the buy-to-let sector evolving, and the demand for short-term lets increasing, it’s inevitable that this will start to affect the housing market in London.

“We’d like to see the government, industry and community interacting to ensure that long-term tenants don’t become disposable and neglected, and rental prices aren’t driven up by short-term lets.”

Jonathan Burridge, development director at JLM Mortgage Services, said: “We do need more housing at affordable prices, we do need to see longer-term ASTs in place and this needs to be highlighted constantly.”


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