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Many short-let landlords and agents have been forced to switch to longer rentals as the coronavirus crisis all but obliterates the short-lets market.

Airbnb and other short-term rental sites are reporting huge falls in demand since the outbreak leaving many landlords with little choice but to switch to a longer let to see out the crisis. 

A SpareRoom report blamed the Covid-19 outbreak for a 20% drop in people looking for rooms. In contrast the flat sharing website has seen an increase in the number of adverts from agents and landlords keen to rent rooms before any nationwide lockdown. 

The 15% increase in adverts from agents, and a 12% uplift from landlords over two days was, they said, partly driven by landlords and homeowners switching from lucrative short-term rental sites like Airbnb as tourism dries up amid the global outbreak. 

But no part of the private rental sector is escaping the fallout from this global pandemic. The crisis has hit a market that was gaining strength after a difficult year, with 18% of agents and 11% of landlords forced to reduce their asking rents.

Viewings are down and it is becoming harder to show prospective renters occupied properties as sitting tenants are either self-isolating or reluctant to let people into the property in adherence with the social distancing guidelines. 

Agents and landlords are increasingly using video viewings as a way of showing properties without people having to come out to see them. Matt Hutchinson, SpareRoom director, said: “Whenever there’s uncertainty people put off making big decisions, like moving house. We saw it during the confusion over Brexit and we’re seeing it in a much more marked way now. In contrast, people with rooms to fill are desperately hoping to get new tenants in before the country goes into lockdown.

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