Responsible hosting in the United Kingdom
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- Mid-Wales Host Club
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- Northwest England Airbnb Host Community
- Peak District & Derbyshire Dales Host Club
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- Scotland Host Club
- Shropshire Host Club
- Southeast England Airbnb Host Community
- Southwest England Airbnb Host Community
- Swansea Host Club
- Wales Airbnb Host Community
We’ve put together this article to help Hosts on Airbnb become familiar with hosting responsibilities, and to provide a general overview of different laws, regulations, and best practices that may affect Hosts. You’re required to follow our guidelines, like our Hosting Standards, and to make sure that you follow the laws and other rules that apply to your specific circumstances and locale.
We recommend that you do your own research, as this article isn’t fully comprehensive and doesn’t constitute legal or tax advice. Also, as we don’t update this article in real time, please check each source and make sure that the information provided hasn’t recently changed.
Table of contents
Tax is a complex topic. Your tax obligations vary based on your particular circumstances. For this reason we recommend that you research your tax obligations or consult a tax consultant for more specific information.
In general, any money you earn as a Host on Airbnb is considered taxable income that may be subject to different taxes like income tax, business rates, corporation tax or VAT. You can see what you have earned in your Host earnings summary.
Tax forms for the United Kingdom are due by 31 January each tax year. Check with HM Revenue & Customs to find out if you need to declare the amount you earn from hosting. It's also a good idea to find out if you’re eligible for other credits like tax reliefs and allowances.
The UK government increased the tax-free threshold for the Rent-a-Room relief in April 2016. The Rent-a-Room Scheme allows you to earn up to £7,500 tax free from sharing space in your primary residence. The threshold is halved if you share the income with your partner or someone else.
UK Hosts on Airbnb can receive a £1,000 tax free allowance on income earned from hosting. However, you cannot claim both the £1,000 tax free allowance and Rent-a-Room relief on the same income. It’s a good idea to check with a qualified advisor or the UK government about your specific situation, as circumstances vary.
Note that rules that apply to rental income still apply whenever you rent out a property other than your primary residence.
If you host a property in England, Scotland, or Wales that is available to let for 140 days or more per year, the government deems it a self-catering property that is subject to business rates.
Rates are based on the property type, size, location, and how many guests are able to stay in your listing. You may also be liable for business rates if you run a guest house or a bed-and-breakfast for more than six people at any one time.
You must register for VAT if your turnover goes over £85,000—or if you know that it will. Check the UK VAT registration page for more information on VAT thresholds.
The UK standard rate of VAT is 20%. Temporary easements on VAT for the tourism and hospitality sector ended on 31 March 2022. As Airbnb provides digital services to its users which attract the standard rate, VAT was and is still charged at 20%.
Free tax guide
We want to make it easy for you to understand your tax responsibilities as a Host on Airbnb. For this reason we have partnered with an independent third-party accounting firm to provide you with a free tax guide that covers general tax information in the United Kingdom. You can also find out more on our UK Tax Hub.
City and regional regulations
Some cities in the United Kingdom have specific regulations. While this section does not provide a complete overview of all rules and regulations, it contains some known information that might be helpful to you.
Greater London has a planning restriction that affects short-term rentals. In most cases, it’s considered a “change of use” to use your residential premises as temporary sleeping accommodation.
Check with your local planning authorities to make sure that you’re allowed to host short-term rentals in your area, as some locations have exceptions to the 90 night rule. We automatically limit entire home listings in Greater London to 90 nights a year, unless you have planning permission to host more frequently.
In 2017, Blackpool Council released a Supplementary Planning Document that set out specific Holiday Accommodation Areas (HAAs) where restrictions on change of use apply. Further information can be found on the Blackpool Council website. Contact your local authority if you have any questions.
Hosts with new listings in Scotland must now obtain a licence to use a property for short-term letting before accepting any bookings. Hosts with listings operating before 1 October will need to make an application for a licence to the relevant local authority by 1 October 2023 in order to continue operating. Provided you comply with the deadline, it is permissible to continue hosting until the local authority has determined the licence application.Hosts with new listings will need to wait for a licence before you can start hosting. Each local authority will have its own licensing policies, application form, and fees. Contact your local authority if you have any questions.
Prior to applying for a license, you should also check if your listing requires planning permission or if the local authority has implemented a Short Term Let Control Area - which for most second home Hosts will mean you will need to obtain planning permission before obtaining a license. For more information on the new short-term letting rules in Scotland, go to the Scottish Government's website or Visit Scotland website.
City of Edinburgh Council has designated the whole of Edinburgh as a Short Term Let Control Area. This means Planning Permission is required to use second homes for short-term letting. Planning permission is not required to use a primary residence for short-term letting.
Decisions on Planning Permission are taken by the Council in line with its Development Plan available on the Edinburgh Council website. Contact your local authority if you have any questions.
Glasgow City Council's City Development Plan provides supplementary planning guidance which addresses short-term accommodation and explains when you need a planning application. Contact your local authority if you have any questions.
The Tourism (Northern Ireland) Order 1992 prohibits anyone from providing or offering to provide tourist accommodation as a business without a valid certificate issued by Tourism NI for the premises in question.
These regulations apply to all tourist accommodation categories. If your property falls into any of the regulated accommodation categories you need to apply for a certificate.
Isle of Man
To host on the Isle of Man, you are required to register with the Department for Enterprise before listing your space. Once you have registered, you will be authorised to host for up to 12 months. The registration year ends on 12 February. It is an offence not to register.
You need to obtain a permit from the Guernsey Government in order to provide paid visitor accommodation and must observe statutory and other restrictions.
You need to register any property that is used as a hotel, guesthouse, self-catering unit, hostel or campsite as tourist accommodation. Learn more on the Jersey Government website.
General regulations and permissions
It’s important to make sure you’re allowed to host guests in your property. Your ability to host may be restricted by contracts, laws, and community rules.
Check with a legal expert or local authority to learn more about regulations, restrictions, and obligations specific to your circumstances and locale. You can use the general info in this article as a starting point.
Contractual agreements and permits
Sometimes leases, contracts, building regulations, and community rules have restrictions on subletting or hosting. Review any contracts you’ve signed and contact whoever is responsible for your building and property to understand what rules might affect your ability to host. This could be your landlord, community council, or building manager.
If everyone agrees, you might be able to amend agreements that restrict your ability to host.
If your property has a mortgage (or any form of loan), check with the lender to make sure that there aren’t restrictions on subletting or hosting.
Subsidized housing restrictions
Hosting in subsidized or social housing in the UK is illegal. If you host without permission, you may be subject to fines or criminal proceedings.
If you share your home with others, consider making a formal agreement with your housemates. Housemate agreements can include how often you plan to host, guest etiquette, whether you'll share revenue, and more.
UK consumer protection law
As of 1 January 2021, the United Kingdom is no longer part of the EU. However, UK consumers retain similar consumer rights as they did before. You can learn more about consumer rights on the UK Government website.
We’ll take appropriate action if anyone notifies us of potential misuse. We have guidelines to help local authorities report housing misuse.
Energy Performance Certificates (EPC)
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) provides details on the energy performance of your property and what you can do to improve it. To find out more about your requirements, please go to the relevant government resource for where you host: England and Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland.
Register your property for an Energy Performance Certificate. If you are a new Host, you can upload your Energy Performance Certificate when you list your space. Existing Hosts can add their Energy Performance Certificate by managing their existing listings.
Cleanliness and hygiene
The following resources contain government guidance on cleaning and safety guidelines for Hosts. These resources include information on how to conduct risk assessments, clean and sanitise your space, remove waste safely, and maintain quality control. Information may vary depending on where in the UK your property is located: England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland.
Tourism organisations across the UK have partnered on a new cleaning standard to help you understand new guidelines on cleaning and safety. You can sign up to Visit Britain’s national cleaning standard on the dedicated "We’re Good To Go" website.
You can get additional guidance for the self-catering and short-term letting sector from the UK Short Term Accommodation Association. If you operate another form of accommodation, please refer to the UKHospitality site, which provides government guidance for hospitality businesses.
We care about the safety of Hosts and their guests. You can improve your guests’ peace of mind by providing a few simple preparations like emergency instructions and noting any potential hazards.
Emergency contact information
Include a contact list with the following phone numbers:
- Local emergency numbers
- The number for the nearest hospital
- Your contact number
- A number for a backup contact (in case guests can’t reach you)
It’s also a good idea to make sure guests know the best way to contact you in case of an emergency. You can also communicate with guests using messages on Airbnb as a safe alternative.
Keep a first aid kit and tell your guests where it is. Check it regularly so you can restock supplies if they run out.
If you have gas appliances, follow any applicable gas safety regulations and make sure you have a functioning carbon monoxide detector. There are different gas safety regulations depending your location:
Provide a fire extinguisher, fire alarm and carbon monoxide detector and remember to maintain each device regularly. Check the UK Government’s fire safety guide, the Fire Risk Assessment Prioritisation Tool, the Scottish Government’s guide on home fire safety or our guide produced in collaboration with the National Fire Chief's Council for more information about how fire safety law applies to you as a Host in the United Kingdom. The guides provide information about:
- Maintaining fire safety compliance
- Conducting a fire safety risk assessment
- Improving your fire safety measures
Local fire services are responsible for fire safety enforcement in the UK. In some cases, they may want to inspect your property to make sure that it is safe for your guests.
All Hosts in England and Wales must make sure that their fire safety risk assessment covers the structure and external walls of the building (e.g. cladding and balconies). In buildings containing more than one home, the assessment must also cover the common areas and entrances to individual flats. Full information on meeting this standard is available on the Gov.UK website.
From 23 January 2023, Hosts in England whose properties are in buildings containing more than one home will have additional responsibilities, depending on the height of the building. Details on these responsibilities can be found on the National Fire Chiefs Council and Gov.UK websites.
Ensure you have a clearly marked fire escape route. Post a map of the route so it’s easy for guests to see.
Here are some ways you can help prevent potential hazards:
- Inspect your home to identify any areas where guests might trip or fall
- Remove the hazards you identify or mark them clearly
- Fix any exposed wires
- Make sure your stairs are safe and have railings
- Remove or lock up any objects that may be dangerous to your guests
Some guests travel with young family members and need to understand if your home is right for them. You can use the Additional notes section of Listing details in your Airbnb account to indicate potential hazards or indicate that your home isn’t suitable for children and infants.
Working appliances, like furnaces and air conditioners, can greatly affect your guests’ comfort during their stay. There are lots of ways you can make sure your guests stay comfortable:
- Make sure your home is properly ventilated
- Provide instructions on how to safely use the heater and air conditioning
- Check that the thermostat is working correctly and make sure that guests know where to find it
- Service the appliances regularly
As a Host, you have a duty to assess health risks and consider Health and Safety Executive guidance regarding exposure to or consumption of unclean water. Find out more about your responsibilities to ensure water safety at your property and the prevention of Legionnaires' disease.
Establish safe occupancy limits. Your local government may have guidelines.
Part of being a responsible Host is helping your guests understand best practices for interacting with your community. When you communicate local rules and customs with your guests, you’re helping to create a great experience for everyone.
If your building has common spaces or shared amenities, let guests know the rules for those places.
You can include your house rules on the Additional notes section of Listing details in your Airbnb account. Guests usually appreciate it when you share your expectations with them upfront.
It’s usually a good idea to let your neighbors know if you’re planning to host. This gives them the chance to let you know if they have any concerns or considerations.
Guests book through Airbnb for lots of reasons, including vacations and celebrations. Let your guests know how noise impacts neighbors early on for a smoother experience.
If you’re concerned about disturbances to your community, there are different ways you can help limit excessive noise:
- Implement a quiet hours policy
- Don’t allow pets
- Indicate that your listing isn’t suitable for children or infants
- Prohibit parties and additional unregistered guests
If your neighbours want to raise a concern to us directly, they can submit an issue through our Neighbour Tool.
Communicate any parking rules for your building and neighborhood to your guests. Examples of possible parking rules:
- Only park in an assigned space
- Don’t park on the west side of the street on Tuesdays and Thursdays due to street cleaning
- Street parking is only available from 7pm–7am
First, check your lease or building rules to make sure there isn’t a restriction on pets. If you allow guests to bring pets, they’ll appreciate knowing good places to exercise their pet or where they should dispose of waste. Share a backup plan, like the number of a nearby pet kennel, in case a guest's pet upsets the neighbors.
Always respect your guests' privacy. Our rules on surveillance devices clearly state what we expect from our Hosts, but some locations have additional laws and regulations that you’ll need to be aware of.
If you don't allow smoking, we suggest posting signs to remind guests. If you do allow smoking, be sure to provide ashtrays in designated areas.
In Wales, smoking is now prohibited in all holiday accommodation. Find out more about the Welsh smoke-free law.
Work with your insurance agent or carrier to determine what kind of obligations, limits, and coverage are required for your specific circumstances.
Host damage protection and Host liability insurance
AirCover for Hosts includes Host damage protection and Host liability insurance, which provide you with basic coverage for listed damages and liabilities. However, these don’t take the place of homeowner's insurance, renter's insurance, or adequate liability coverage. You might need to meet other insurance requirements as well.
We strongly encourage all Hosts to review and understand the terms of their insurance policy coverage. Not all insurance plans will cover damage or loss of property caused by a guest who books your accommodation.
Learn more about AirCover for Hosts
Liability and basic coverage
Review your homeowner's or renter's policy with your insurance agent or carrier to make sure your listing has adequate liability coverage and property protection.
Other hosting information
Check out Guides for getting started to learn more about hosting on Airbnb.
Please note that Airbnb has no control over the conduct of Hosts and disclaims all liability. Failure of Hosts to satisfy their responsibilities may result in suspension of activity or removal from the Airbnb website. Airbnb isn’t responsible for the reliability or correctness of the information contained in any links to third party sites (including any links to legislation and regulations).
- Here’s what you need to know about short-term rental laws in your area.
- Here’s what you need to know about night limits in your area.
- HostThese terms and conditions apply to Hosts who offer discounts on the price of their Listing(s) (“Host Discount Policy”).