Tenancy duration has been in the news quite a bit of late, largely because of a study conducted by the homelessness and housing charity, Shelter. Their research found that 12 per cent of parents who rent privately feel as though short-term lets may leave their children feeling unsettled.

While this may be true, short-term tenancies do still have a place in the current housing market. Obviously, they’re not for everyone, but for certain tenants, short-term lets can be the perfect solution. Here we take a look at exactly what short lets are, and who they can benefit.

What are short-term lets?

The name may seem self-explanatory, but short-term lets usually have to fall within a certain timeframe in order to be considered as such.

As a general rule of thumb, a short-term tenancy is usually a rental property that is being offered to the market for six months or less. Tenancies ranging from 6 months to a year are commonly marketed as medium-term rentals, with anything over a year deemed to be a long-term let.

Short-term lets are comparatively rare, so anyone looking to rent a property on a temporary basis may find themselves competing with many others for the tenancy.

Who uses short-term lets?

There are many reasons why someone may prefer to take on a short-term let rather than commit to something longer. Some may be in the area for a few months because of work commitments, while others may be in need of somewhere to live whilst waiting for a property purchase to complete.

Another growing trend is people taking out short-term rentals while work on their existing property is being carried out. More and more people are doing major renovation work on their homes, and that can often leave them without usable kitchens and bathrooms for extended periods. Renting a property for the duration of the work is an ideal solution, and far cheaper than putting the family up in a hotel!

On the subject of hotels, tourism is also playing a part in this sector of the property market these days. Anyone visiting for longer than a fortnight will probably be financially better off with a short let rather than staying in a hotel. So, in expensive cities like London, short-term rentals can often provide the perfect solution.

What are the benefits of short lets?

When you look at who typically takes on short stay rentals, you will begin to see the benefits this section of the lettings market brings to some tenants. Despite generally being more expensive than their longer-term counterparts, short lets make financial sense in many situations. They also offer a degree of flexibility for those who are in town for a limited time, but there are other advantages too.

Short-term rentals offer tenants a greater degree of privacy and space when compared to most hotels, and you’ll also feel more at home than when you stay in a sterile and bland hotel room. These can be important factors, especially for those who may be looking for a place to entertain family, friends, and work colleagues, as well as having somewhere to stay.

What about landlords?

With all these benefits for tenants, what do landlords get out of offering short-term lets? Well, some landlords may be in a similar position to the tenants they are hoping to attract - they simply want a short-term solution.

Flexibility works both ways in this instance. Some landlords may want to sell their property, but not right away. Obviously, they have the option of leaving their property empty, but that’s not exactly shrewd business! So, they offer the property as a short-term let.

Taking on tenants for a shorter period gives landlords the opportunity to take stock of how the market’s performing and assess their own personal financial situation too. Should they need to, a short-term let allows them to sell their property without having to wait for a long tenancy to come to an end.

When it comes to short-term lets, London is the perfect city for landlords, as demand is so incredibly high. This means they have a multitude of tenants to choose from, so they can afford to be choosy over who they rent their property out to. Should the tenancy not go according to plan, a short-term let also gives a landlord the opportunity to switch tenants with the minimum amount of fuss.

However, it’s worth keeping in mind there is legislation in place preventing homeowners in London from renting out entire properties on a short-term basis for more than three months a year. Should you wish to rent out your home for more than 90 days as a short-term let, you may need to apply for Material Change of Use from your local authority.

If you are interested in finding a short-term rental property in London or West Essex, or if you are a landlord looking to put your property on the market for a short period of time, give us a call. Our expert lettings team are always happy to offer any advice you may need.

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short term lets what are they and who do they benefit