With Wimbledon in full swing, many London residents will be hoping to cash in on the action by renting out their home to those looking to stay close to centre court.
However, John Severino, UK Country Manager at Airbnb management company GuestReady warns that those with properties in London are subject to certain limitations that aren’t observed in other parts of the country.
“If you are renting out your entire property on Airbnb, the Deregulation Act 2015 states that you can only do so for a maximum of 90 days a year across Greater London,” says John.
“Airbnb will automatically close your property listing once you have reached this 90-day limit, so it’s important to bear this in mind if you are looking to Airbnb your home during the tournament.”
“There are, however, no restrictions on how long you can rent out a spare room on Airbnb if you live in London,” he adds, “so that might be a workaround homeowners wish to consider.”
How much can I charge for a spare room in Wimbledon?
An analysis of Airbnb listings by GuestReady found that the average estimated earnings for a 1-bedroom property in Wimbledon are £106 per night – however one listing was found to be charging a staggering £300 per night.
A single private room within a property in Wimbledon, was found to be on average £56 per night.
Do I pay tax on my Airbnb earnings?
John added, “Many aren’t aware of this, but if you own a property in England, you can earn up to £7,500 per year tax-free on top of your regular income, by renting out a spare room under the government’s ‘Rent a Room Scheme.’
“This means that if you earn less than £7,500 through Airbnb between 6 April this year and 5 April next year, you don’t have to declare this to HMRC and can keep the full amount.
“If you earn above this threshold, you will need to fill out a Self Assessment tax return through the government website. You can still opt into the scheme to claim your tax-free allowance, and you will only be taxed on any earnings above £7,500.
Top five tips for increasing bookings on Airbnb
John has also shared his top tips for how to attract guests year-round to ensure that your property or spare room remains frequently booked.
Keep your Airbnb listing current
It is important to make sure that your Airbnb listing is up to date and that the description accurately reflects the property or room you are listing.
If you have added new amenities to your property, such as an iron and ironing board, it is worth mentioning these in the listing. This could make the difference between a guest picking your stay over one that is less equipped.
If there have been any recent road closures, or public transport changes, it is useful to mention this, to ensure a smoother journey for your guest.
We recommend that you update your Airbnb listing on a monthly basis to reflect any new additions or changes to your stay.
Adjust prices accordingly
Consider adjusting the rate for a nightly stay throughout the week. Demand for bookings on weeknights is likely to be lower that at the weekend, so lowering how much you charge can ensure your property is occupied more of the time.
You may also want to consider discounts on bookings of more than a week, to incentivise people to stay for longer. This also works out better in terms of cleaning costs, as you don’t have to clean the property every day, like you would if you had a new guest each night.
It’s also important to keep an eye on the prices of similar listings in your area, to ensure that you are not out pricing yourself from other listings or nearby hotels.
Target the right people
Tying your listing title or description into seasonal events can be a great way to attract new guests and differentiate your stay from other listings.
Letting people know that your listing is close to places they might want to visit can save them time checking manually themselves.
For example, you might amend your listing description to say, “Just a 10-minute walk from Wimbledon Stadium” to encourage bookings from guests looking for easy access to the tournament.
Turn on ‘Instant Book’
The Instant Book feature means that guests can book your home or room, without the need for approval or talking directly to you.
This can help you to secure last minute bookings and can improve your chances of gaining Superhost status, which many users look for when booking, as it is a mark of a quality host. Additionally, it will also help to bump your listing higher up the search results, so that it is viewed by more people.
Encourage guests to leave a review
Positive reviews are one of the first things people check before booking an Airbnb. Therefore, it’s a good idea to encourage your guests to leave a review soon after their stay.
As a host, make sure to leave a review of your guest shortly after they leave, as they will then receive an email prompting them to do the same. Guests will not be able to see your review for 14 days, unless they leave a review of their own, so this can entice them to write one of their own.