Tips for short term rentals

Traditionally, letting property was done on a long term basis. However, not all of us want the hassle of permanent tenants. In the past decade, globally, we’ve seen a rise in companies such as Airbnb, making short term letting a serious consideration for those with an annexe in their home or an investment property they’d prefer to let out on a short term basis or as a holiday rental. Here’s some of our tips if this is a route you’re considering:

1. Know your Landlord Legislation

Just because you are letting on a short-term basis doesn’t mean current lettings legislation won’t apply to you. First you will need to check whether you need a Tenancy Agreement or you fall under a Licence to Occupy, where the occupier is only occupying certain rooms in your property. You can see which you fall under on the GOV UK website. In either situation you will still need to carry out some landlord best practice housekeeping including:

  • An annual gas safety check on any gas and solid fuel appliances including boilers, gas hobs and woodburners.
  • Provide CO detectors in each room where there is a solid fuel supply, including an open fire.
  • Provide smoke detectors on every floor of the property.
  • Have some sort of formal agreement. A short term let will fall under a tenancy agreement but even if you are using a Licence to Occupy, set out your expectations to protect you, your property and your temporary tenants with a signed agreement. Again, you can find more information via the link above.

2. Make sure your advertising is appropriate for a short-term let

Advertising a room or short term let is subtly different from a long-term let. You need to be specific on the dates the rental is available. We advise you state whether you anticipate your tenant or holiday guest contributing to the bills. This isn’t usual practice with holiday rentals but if you are taking a short term let in an annexe, you might not include council tax but expect a contribution towards electricity, gas, water etc.

3. Don’t dismiss a deposit

It’s a myth that the longer the let, the greater the damage and wear and tear. You only need one clumsy occupier to cause damage to your property. Make your deposit relative to the cost of the rent and the period of duration. If you are using an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement for your short-term let, you will need to use one of the government tenancy deposit schemes to register the deposit within 30 days of receiving it.

4. Think ahead

We know how stressful some landlords find changing long term tenants can be, especially with void periods and no income. With short term letting, potential void periods will be more frequent so think ahead and advertise regularly to avoid loss of income.

5. What’s on

Being aware of events that will pull in tourists and weekend rentals (i.e. increased demand) will help you know what to charge accordingly. In Cheltenham, we benefit greatly from horse racing with three weekends between October and December, New Year and of course, the important Cheltenham Festival week in March when demand is very high. The various festivals including Literature, Science and Jazz also bring many tourists to the town.

6. Service Provider

If you’re providing a high-class service for short term tenants and holiday lets, remember that your clients will have equally high expectations. Think about all the little home comforts, like a coffee machine, which occupiers will appreciate together with professional cleaning between lets and laundry services. Remember to add these services into your costings when thinking about what to charge.

7. Cash-In

In April 2016 the government introduced the Rent-a-Room scheme which allows you to earn up to £7,500 from lodgers, tax free. Well worth consideration.

Author bio:

Jemma Wilkinson
Jemma is a Director at Sure Lettings who specialises in matching the right tenant with the right property for long and short term rentals. 01452 310999