Airbnb headache for long-term renters as Marlborough landlords pull properties

Marlborough landlords are seeing the benefits of renting short-term on Airbnb.
CARL COURT/GETTY IMAGES

Marlborough landlords are seeing the benefits of renting short-term on Airbnb.

Marlborough landlords fed up with dodgy tenants are jumping ship and saturating the Airbnb market.

The online accommodation provider has more than 300 rooms available in Marlborough, including 160 "entire homes", compared to 39 rooms for rent on Trade Me, and 11 homes.

Property manager Andrew Murray said the climbing number of Airbnbs meant houses were being pulled from the decreasing pool of rentals. 

Airbnb could not be solely blamed for the rental squeeze, but the number of Airbnb properties across the country would continue to balloon, making it a major contributor to the rental crisis, Murray said.

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"You do have to remember the percentage of sales wouldn't even make in blip in the number of houses we need ... [but] it's taking houses off the market, so in that way it's not helpful."

11 properties are available to potential tenants in Blenheim on Trade Me.
TRADE ME

11 properties are available to potential tenants in Blenheim on Trade Me.

Murray, who manages traditional rentals and Airbnb properties in Auckland, said seasonal areas suffered in low seasons as visitors dried up, but Airbnb offered almost double the profits and far less wear and tear than traditional rentals.

The rating system also helped eliminate dud profiles.

"I'm making 40 per cent more from a [Air]bnb than I am from a rental. I only lend my properties to users with a five-star rating, so if people had a bad experience one time they are basically blacklisted. It's just not worth it."

160 properties are listed in the "entire home" section of the Airbnb website for Marlborough.
AIRBNB

160 properties are listed in the "entire home" section of the Airbnb website for Marlborough.

A Blenheim woman, who did not want to be named, said the market was fully saturated with Airbnbs and, as a result, the number of rental properties had slumped.

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The market had reached full capacity and she doubted it would continue to be so lucrative over the usually busy summer period.

She offered two options for customers; a bedroom in the home she shared with her husband, and a cottage.

Andrew Murray, director of Auckland's Apartment Specialists, says dedicated short-term Airbnb rentals are adding to ...
SUPPLIED

Andrew Murray, director of Auckland's Apartment Specialists, says dedicated short-term Airbnb rentals are adding to housing shortages.

In peak season, between October and April, both were in hot demand and booked almost every night. Most guests stayed for up to three nights, at $160 per night in the self-contained cottage at the back of her home. The average price per night in Blenheim on Airbnb was $140.

A three-bedroom rental home averaged at $311 per week on Trade Me.

The woman had been in the Airbnb market for more than two years and said despite the stiff competition, it was easier to rent the cottage out in overnight stints than put it on the rental market.

The system was financially better and less risky as she could keep an eye on the state of the house even though she had to wash, clean and tidy the place between guests.

Blenheim Summit Property Management general manager Stewart Henry said he blamed an influx of people moving into the area on the housing shortage.

Due to high competition for properties, people with bad credit ratings or poor references would struggle to find housing, he said.

He had not noticed landlords pulling their properties but said putting rooms and houses on Airbnb could be a solution for owners who wanted to rent their house short-term.

Airbnb spokesman Brent Thomas said the company began as a means to help people pay their rent and stay in their home, and the "overwhelming majority "of Airbnb hosts "were everyday people who rely on Airbnb to share their homes to make a little extra money".

"Airbnb is doing so well in New Zealand and around the world, for the simple reason that our hosts - the vast majority of which are lower and middle income people - provide guests with a more authentic way to experience places," he said.

He said it was "simplistic and wrong" to point the finger at home sharing. Airbnb make up 1.6 per cent of New Zealand's housing market.

 - Stuff

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