Owning a property in London—especially a second property, a home-from-home—is a fabulous investment and acquisition.
Having an additional base in one of the biggest and most exciting capital cities in the world—let’s face it—there are plenty of people who’d love to be in your shoes.
Or more accurately—your property.
Yet, making an income from your London house or apartment isn’t as easy it sounds. Who’s going to take care of the cleaning and the laundry? How are you going to get enough visitors to make it worthwhile? Do you understand the legal aspects of running a holiday-let business? And how can you do all that from hundreds of miles away?
Letting a property in London
That’s where employing the services of an Airbnb property management in London comes into its own.
Having someone to take care of every aspect of your holiday-let property is almost like having a business partner—a truly hands-on and efficient business partner. They’ll do all the hard work for a small slice of the rewards.
However, if the property sits empty for too long, they don’t stand to lose anything, as they work on a percentage of the bookings they bring. You, on the other hand, are down on your income.
Initially, they might offer to boost your income, even double it, but if they get it wrong, you won’t earn a penny. If only they could guarantee their claims and put their money where their marketing mouth is.
UpperKey’s guaranteed rent system
UpperKey will offer the same undertakings as a management service, but with even less involvement from you.
UpperKey is one of the very few services that offer a guaranteed rent over the full term of your contract as standard.
Every month you get exactly what you expect. It makes it easier for you to budget, you always know where you stand, and it takes all the guesswork out of running your business.
The London Airbnb 90 day rule
In 2015, it became law that nobody could rent out their property for more than 90 days in the Greater London area solely using short-term rentals.
This new regulation was down to the rise of Airbnb and how easy it was for landlords to fill properties with short-term, high-rate stays, and the impact it was having on the long-term property rental market.
Rental homes were turning into holiday lets, which was bad news for those looking to live and work in London. It was also affecting the culture of the city.
If landlords were going to take advantage of the far easier to fulfil short-term market, they had to apply for a planning permit to change the use of the property.
To sidestep the 90-day rule, those same landlords had to find a way to occupy the property for the rest of the year with mid-term lets—something the property management companies are well versed in.
Advantages of employing an Airbnb management company in London
In-house teams create consistency for hosts and guests
Many of the Airbnb management London teams take care of everything in-house. Having a team that performs the same tasks, over and over, provides consistency for both landlords and guests.
Personal touch and local knowledge
With a team of staff who live and work in London, they can supply all the information a visitor could need. Not only that, but they are specialists in the city. Their local knowledge is invaluable, providing fast, efficient answers for visitors, taking the stress out of any stay.
Managing the London 90-day limit
A management service understands all the laws and legislation of their industry. Everything from managing bookings, insurances, and the 90-day limit—it’s all part of their process.
High-street reception spaces offer concierge-like service
Some of the London management services have an office in the capital, providing a drop-in space for guests. Tie this in with a 24/7 contact number, and it can provide something of an Airbnb concierge for their London guests. It’s not just hotels that can offer to go the extra mile anymore.
Advice on local attractions, attendance and booking
Forward-thinking management services may provide visitors with all they need to know about what’s going on in London, how to get there, how to buy tickets for theatres, attractions, and special events. Many of these elements will be included in an in-depth welcome pack, or as part of the check-in experience.
Specialist local market knowledge to aid in boosting income
When it comes to your booking rates, a specialist in the field can quickly boost your income. They know exactly when you can charge the most advantageous fees and how much they are. They’ll also know when to drop them to make sure you retain full occupancy during slower seasons.
Some even offer to double your income
Armed with that knowledge, some services will suggest they can double your earnings. It’s a bold statement, but if they’ve got data to prove their claims, then perhaps they’re worth every penny of their fees.
Dedicated account managers
You may be provided with a dedicated account manager. Having someone you can contact directly about the state of your bookings and revenue, or any problems with your property, provides a great deal of confidence and peace in stressful situations.
Work with local estate agents for mid- and long-term lets
A local service will often work alongside existing estate agents, filling the gap for landlords looking for mid-term stays. Property management services in London are often dependent on these to fill their apartments year-round, so these contacts are invaluable.
Some possible flaws when using Airbnb management companies in London
Fake comments and appraisals on popular review sites
There were rumours about one of the London property management companies persuading staff to place false recommendations on the review sites. Make sure your service holds genuine recommendations or referrals before signing to any service.
High and costly management rates
You’ll be handing over a percentage of your booking fees, so shop around carefully for the best rate for you. Remember, the lowest rate isn’t always your best option. You may pay a little more to some services, but get a lot more back in return.
Hidden fees for services
The less reputable agents will hide fees in their small print, often only to be found when it’s too late. Again, check reviews, go over any contract thoroughly, or even have your own legal representative give it the all-clear before you sign.
Minimum availability periods
Some agents will require you to have lengthy minimum availability periods, to be able to make their required returns from your property. Check the small print if it isn’t shown up-front in their terms.
No personal check-ins / only key-boxes
A lot of your guests will expect to be greeted personally, especially if they have a list of questions ready. Some of the management services operate on key-box check-ins only. This is where a passcode is given to access the property’s keys or to get into the apartment. It keeps human resources down, but you may be missing out on the personal touch your guests might prefer.
No insurance other than the Airbnb damage protection
You’ll expect to be covered in any emergency or accident, so if a management service operates on nothing more than the standard Airbnb policies, you may want to put something in place—or find a service that provides the level of professionalism you require.
Possibly slow payment schedules
One of the biggest issues that can cause friction between owners and managers is the payment. There are services that pay almost immediately, yet others will hang on to the fees until the latest possible opportunity.
Picking the prime Airbnb management service in London
It’s worth doing your research if you’re looking into taking advantage of an Airbnb management service. Not all services are equal, and without due diligence, you could be getting yourself into deep trouble instead of easing your workload.