Short-term rentals:Londoners are letting out their homes to help fund summer holidays

Londoners are finding the means for their summer vacation by letting out their homes while they're travelling...

Rising rents, the high cost of airfares and the weakness of the British pound post-Brexit is making it more difficult to go abroad during the peak high summer season.

But new data suggests that those who rent or own property in the capital could use their empty homes to cover the cost of their holiday - and then some - by renting them out while they're away.

Short-term lets via sites such as Airbnb, Spareroom and Gumtree have become common in the capital. More than 24,000 Londoners advertised their homes on Airbnb alone over the past year - for an average of 50 nights in total.

It can be a lucrative business with short-term renters usually prepared to pay about 50 per cent more rent than they do for lets of six months or more. Typical hosts earn about £3,500 annually from vacant rooms without having to make long-term commitments.

Hostmaker, a service which manages Airbnb profiles, estimates that an average homeowner in Highbury could rent their place for a week and pay for flights and accommodation in Budapest; while a flat in Shoreditch can be exchanged for a week in Florence and £500 of spending money after flights and accommodation.

However, several London councils don’t allow holiday lets for more than 90 days a year. So it's important to make sure your home insurance covers holiday lets, and that your mortgage lender, freeholder, and local council don’t prohibit short lets

Anna Rose Martelli: "Renting my property gives me the freedom to do the things I love."

Earning potential
Hostmaker believes Londoners could make between £185 and £420 per night while they're on holiday.

Anna-Rose Martelli, 33, is a former estate agent and rents her east London one-bedroom flat in Whitechapel for an average of £120 a night (it sleeps four thanks to a sofa bed in the living room) through Hostmaker - and she now spends most of the year in Thailand.

“I left my hectic job as an estate agent in London two years ago for a break in Thailand and haven’t looked back since. I now spend a lot of my time out there helping out in the community, practising yoga and relaxing," she says. "It definitely takes the financial strain away knowing I am making the most of the property... it’s a great source of income while I’m away and it’s also super flexible - I can come back at any time.”

Vinit and Binda Patel, both 28, are renting out their one-bedroom flat in Hackney via a similar service, Airsorted, and have been travelling since Christmas Day last year in celebration of their 10-year anniversary.

Their flat earns them about £2,000 a month, which leaves them with about £500 profit after paying their mortgage and fees.

Vinit at Sentinel Point, admiring Yosemite National Park, USA (left); Vinit and Binda at Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

Vinit says: "It's so easy to get stuck in the daily rut of life. Getting away from it all, driving 5,000 miles across America or cycling 500km through Vietnam and not having to think about anything in particular has been incredible.

"I just check the Airbnb app occassionally to read messages and make sure Airsorted are managing things as I would - and that's it. We have minimum contact and everything has run smoothly so far."

But short-term lets are not just funding holidays, and there is demand for them outside of the capital, too. Marilyn Dale, who is retired, lives in Walton-on-Thames and lets out her second bedroom for Monday to Friday lets on

Marilyn Dale lives in Walton-on-Thames and lets out her second bedroom for Monday to Friday lets on

She says: "I have only one reason for renting my spare room - to fund the expenses of keeping my horse at a DIY livery.

"The cost of keeping a horse cannot be met on my State pension, so I tried various part-time jobs such as dog-walking and home help, but eventually found that my spare room could provide the required funds. The good thing is it's tax free and it's something I can do without having to give up too much time - or my weekends."

*The hostmaker price calculator is based on a holiday for a family of four for one week in July 2016. All flights calculated via Easyjet from all London airports on 22/06/2016.

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