How to Start Airbnb Business Without Owning Property in the UK



The Insider @ Houst
Last updated on
June 26, 2024

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How to Start Airbnb Business Without Owning Property in the UK

Airbnb Management Services by Houst | Short-Term Rental Experts

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The vacation rental scene, especially Airbnb, is really booming these days. With over 7.7 million places to stay and 5 million hosts all over the world, chances are you know someone who's got an Airbnb.

But let's be real, owning an Airbnb isn't a walk in the park. You not only need your own place but also have to put in a ton of time and effort to make it work.

The good news is you don't have to own property to cash in. If buying a house isn't in the cards or just not your thing, there are plenty of other cool ways to make money with Airbnb.

In this blog, we’ll see how to start Airbnb business without owning property UK. So, let’s get started!

Table of Contents

Rent to Rent

If you're up for taking on all the responsibilities (and the perks!) of Airbnb hosting, or you're aiming to build capital for future property investments like BRRR projects, rent-to-rent could be your thing.

Rent-to-rent is when you lease a property long-term and then rent it out short-term through platforms like Airbnb or VRBO. You typically secure the property by offering the landlord a guaranteed rent for a fixed period, usually 2-5 years. In UK property circles, it's often called R2SA, which stands for rent-to-serviced accommodation.

Now, it's important not to confuse rent to rent with subletting. It's not about leasing a place and then subletting it as if living there yourself. You need to be upfront with the landlord or agent about your plans for the property. Instead of a standard lease, you'll use agreements like commercial leases or management contracts. And like any Airbnb host, you must comply with local laws and regulations for short-term rentals.

Getting a property set up for Airbnb takes some initial effort and money. But once everything's running smoothly, many of the day-to-day tasks can be automated or delegated, making it a solid way to generate passive income.

Why Would a Landlord Consider Letting Me Airbnb Their Property?

Not every landlord is keen on letting someone Airbnb their property. But plenty of landlords fall into the category of tired or accidental landlords; they might have inherited the property or moved away, and all they want is a steady rental income without the hassle of managing it themselves.

With the rent-to-rent strategy, you typically offer these landlords a long-term lease agreement, which can be quite attractive. It means they don't have to worry about finding new tenants every year or the risk of their property sitting vacant for long periods.

Those who use the rent-to-rent approach often go the extra mile by taking full responsibility for managing the property. That includes handling necessary repairs and maybe even sprucing up the place to keep it in top shape. 

Airbnb Co-hosting

An Airbnb co-host assists the main host in managing their Airbnb property and guests, usually in exchange for a share of the earnings. As a co-host, your role involves taking on agreed-upon hosting responsibilities to ensure everything runs smoothly at the Airbnb.

If you don't own a property and don't want the full responsibility of managing someone else's property alone, co-hosting can be a perfect fit. It lets you earn money through Airbnb without owning property, and you can decide how much involvement you want. Depending on your tasks and the number of listings you handle, co-hosting can be a profitable side gig or even a full-time job.

You and the main host typically divide responsibilities and income. Co-hosts generally assist with tasks like:

  • Communicating with guests before and during their stay
  • Welcoming guests during check-in (unless it's self-check-in)
  • Managing and optimising listings and booking requests
  • Arranging cleaning services
  • Replenishing essential supplies like soap, shampoo, and toilet paper

Rent Out Your Spare Rooms on Airbnb

Many homeowners earn extra money by renting out their spare rooms on Airbnb. But did you know you don't necessarily need to own your home to do this? If you're a tenant with extra space, you can ask your landlord if they're okay with you listing a room on Airbnb.

Of course, not every landlord will agree to this idea. However, if you have a good relationship with your landlord and they trust you to take good care of the property, it's worth discussing. Before approaching them, it's smart to research Airbnb's Host Protection Insurance and any other precautions you'd need to take.

Renting out a spare room is not only a great way to earn extra income without owning property, but it's also tax-free in the UK. Under the Rent a Room scheme, you can earn up to £7,500 a year without paying tax on it.

Renting out a spare room on Airbnb can be a win-win if you have the space and your landlord is on board. It's a way to earn extra money while making use of your available space.

Airbnb Experiences

If you're not into hosting guests or managing properties, Airbnb has another option for earning cash: hosting experiences. These are activities offered by everyday people who want to share something special with others; they're known as experience "hosts."

You can offer all sorts of experiences, from cooking classes and city tours to tasting events, photography sessions, and more. The sky's the limit when it comes to creativity; people are always on the lookout for new and unique things to try!

For example, if you know all the best bars in your area, why not organise pub crawls? Are you a talented dancer? Consider offering dance lessons, either online or in person. Or maybe you know the most Instagram-worthy spots in town, leading a photo tour for tourists!

Do you have any special skills or unique possessions that could create memorable experiences, whether in person or online?

As an Airbnb Experience host, you have the freedom to set your own prices, schedule, and terms. It's a flexible way to earn money without the hassle of owning or dealing with properties at all!

Become an Airbnb Property Manager

If you're ready to take your involvement with Airbnb beyond co-hosting to the next level, consider becoming an Airbnb property manager. This could be a great option if you have the time and want to turn it into a business, all without the need to invest in or rent out a property yourself.

Managing Airbnb properties is a fantastic way to earn money without owning any real estate. Many property owners want to list on Airbnb but lack the time or resources to handle it themselves. That's where you step in. As an Airbnb property manager, your responsibilities typically include:

  • Managing property listings and reservations
  • Interacting with visitors
  • Guaranteeing a positive guest experience from arrival to departure
  • Coordinating and supervising cleaning and upkeep responsibilities
  • Building a good relationship with property owners

Typically, as a short-term rental manager, you earn between 15% to 25% of the booking amount. For example, managing an Airbnb that brings in £2,500 a month could earn you £500 with a 20% commission. Managing more properties or higher-income listings can easily increase your earnings.


You don't need to spend a lot of money on real estate to get into the vacation rental business. If you're dedicated to becoming a successful Airbnb host, you can earn a good income without ever buying a property. There are plenty of ways to break into the industry and make money without the high costs of property ownership.

The Insider @ Houst

The Insider @ Houst

The Insider team at Houst is dedicated to providing up-to-date and relevant information on short-term rentals. If you have hosting inquiries, please write to us at For guest inquiries, reach out at We are here to help you navigate the world of short lets and look forward to assisting you with your needs.

The Insider @ Houst

The Insider @ Houst

The Insider team at Houst is dedicated to providing up-to-date and relevant information on short-term rentals. If you have hosting inquiries, please write to us at For guest inquiries, reach out at We are here to help you navigate the world of short lets and look forward to assisting you with your needs.

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