Case study: Avoiding the financial blues on Blue Monday

UK: Homeowners waking up on Blue Monday can look to the sharing economy revolution to end the financial blues this year, according to the UK Short-Term Accommodation Association [STAA].

UnderTheDoormat CEO and STAA chair, Merilee Karr, said: “Many people will be looking at their bank balances and credit card bills on Blue Monday and wondering how they are going to get back on track. The good news is that the potential to make money from your home has never been easier and short-term letting can provide individuals with a great opportunity to ease their financial woes this year.”

• The UK sharing economy is predicted to grow by more than 30 per cent this year* and more homeowners than ever before are considering renting out their properties to earn some extra cash.
• UK hosts who rent out a room or their whole property for short periods earn on average £3,100 per year**.
• Karr said: “The popularity of short-term renting is going to grow and we want to ensure that it happens responsibly. Most hosts rent out their homes when they are away for the weekend visiting friends and family, during their annual holiday or if they work away during the week and own a property in another city, they’ll rent it out at weekends.

“That money could go towards paying off credit card bills, helping homeowners avoid their bank balances ‘going into the red’ or can be used to treat themselves to an extra holiday. It’s a great way to supplement your income and relatively straightforward to get started,” she added.

The STAA has published six top tips to help novice hosts get started:

  1. List your property on a reputable platform. There are many platforms such as HomeAway or Airbnb for you to list your home to potential guests.
  2. Decide if you want to manage your home yourself. There are full service companies such as UnderTheDoormat and onefinestay who market, manage and insure high-end properties. There are Airbnb service providers such as GuestReady, Airsorted and Hostmaker who provide different levels of support to hosts. You need to pick the one that is the best fit for the level of support you want, the type of property you have and your location. Reputable companies who are members of the STAA are listed on its website.
  3. Check your insurance cover. Most standard home insurance policies do not provide cover for short term rentals. Specialist insurers like Pikl and GUARDHOG offer suitable policies. You will also need to inform your insurer and sometimes your mortgage lender that you plan to rent out your property on a short-term basis.
  4. Create a good quality welcome guide for your guests. If you do not feel you have the time or skills to do this then there are companies such as TouchStay who can help create one for you.
  5. Organise your cleaning. Use a local service to clean your property before and after guests stay. Providing clean linen each time is important and now there are companies such as Airlinen who offer clean linen rentals specifically for the short-term rental sector.
  6. Check your security and safety systems. Make sure your alarms and smoke detectors are in good working order. There is now a new generation of multi-purpose alarms from providers such as Minut that can detect intrusion, smoke and heat that can be self-installed in minutes and can send you text alerts when they detect something. It is a good idea to get an accreditation from Quality in Tourism’s Safe, Clean and Legal scheme that will help make your property more marketable and ensure you meet all the legal requirements to let your home.

For more information on Blue Monday advice, visit the UK STAA website here.

* The UK’s sharing economy has been predicted to expand at over 30 per cent per year over the next decade, generating £18 billion of revenue for platforms and facilitating about £140 billion worth of transactions per year by 2025. Source: PWC
** The average Airbnb host earned £3,100 in 2018 according to Airbnb UK Insights Report 2018

Blue Monday definition: According to awarenessdays.com, the third Monday of January has been awarded the gloomy title of Blue Monday due to a combination of post-Christmas blues, cold dark nights and the arrival of unpaid credit card bills.