Fully furnished bedroom.
Vacation Rental Blog Posts

How to Switch Between a Long and Short-Term Rental

May 07, 2020

Imagine that your long-term tenants are planning a move and you’re deciding on next steps. Since you’ve landed here, we’re guessing that a similar scenario is playing out with your rental property. You’re in good company: before the current pandemic, Airbnb listings had been booming worldwide; for example, the London short term let market saw […]

Imagine that your long-term tenants are planning a move and you’re deciding on next steps. Since you’ve landed here, we’re guessing that a similar scenario is playing out with your rental property.

You’re in good company: before the current pandemic, Airbnb listings had been booming worldwide; for example, the London short term let market saw a four-fold increase between 2015 and 2019, with some online letting agents even allowing their clients to utilize a mixture of short and long lets to avoid void periods and maximize their return on investment.

But as it turns out, simply having a home to let isn’t enough to guarantee success in the short-term rental marketplace. Here’s our advice and top tips for switching between a long term and short term let.

Fully furnished bedroom.

Consider Local Regulations

Short-term rental laws weren’t a huge stumbling block in the past but these days, they’re popping up in many urban areas. These laws tend to change frequently, and they’re often complex, so it’s vital that you familiarize yourself with local codes as a first step toward switching between long-term and short-term rentals.

Curious about what short-term rental laws typically cover? Here’s a sampling:

  • Licensure requirements
  • Which types of housing may be used for short-term let
  • Whether or not hosts must be permanent residents
  • Number of days per year short-term rentals are allowed 
  • What information home sharing sites must disclose to local authorities 
  • Applicable taxes, fees, and fines for violations

Don’t let potential regulations stop you from working toward your goal. Many areas place only minor limitations on short-term rentals and some put no cap on the number of days short-term rentals are allowed, meaning you can benefit from high returns all year round.

Know What Tenants Want in a Rental Property

Demand drives the marketplace, particularly in the world of short term property rentals. Knowing what tenants want and satisfying those demands is key to success. See how many of the following boxes your property ticks:

  • Good location, near transportation and local attractions 
  • Desirable amenities and features including:
    • High-speed internet
    • Safe parking – Off-street parking is attractive; covered parking is even better 
    • Outdoor space – even a private patio for lounging and barbecues can place your property in the spotlight
    • Well-equipped kitchen with high-end appliances
    • Attractive bathrooms with spa-inspired fixtures
    • Comfortable, contemporary furnishings including white goods in bathrooms 
  • Space for relaxing and entertaining

Although location and proximity to local attractions are outside your control, providing desirable amenities and making your rental more appealing are comparatively simple tasks. And when your rental offers better amenities than a competing unit that’s a bit closer to the city center or a certain attraction, visitors will often choose to stay with you and spend a few more minutes traveling.

Plan to Meet Ongoing Demands

Having a short-term rental furnished and ready for your first guests to arrive is only half the battle. That’s one of the biggest reasons why so many Airbnb hosts turn to vacation rental management companies for help with everything from keeping the kitchen stocked with coffee to ensuring that there’s just the right amount of toilet paper in each bathroom.

In case you’re curious about typical tasks that take place between guests, here’s a quick checklist:

  • Remove rubbish and replace bin liners
  • Repair anything that was damaged by previous guests
  • Clean furnishings and ready them for the next guests
  • Stock supplies in kitchens and baths
  • Strip all beds and remake with fresh linens
  • Do all laundry and place fresh towels in bathrooms 
  • Clean all floors

Of course, these are just the basics. Your property’s specific needs will depend on the amenities you have onsite.

Check Your Schedule

There’s more to operating a short-term rental than providing the unit and keeping it in tip-top shape to ensure that great reviews from happy guests keep you in the black.

There’s a stream of inquiries, ongoing scheduling demands, and of course, responses to reviews need to be written. Guests need to be welcomed, checked in, and checked out. They often have questions and pressing needs that you’ll have to address.

Writing in journal with breakfast.

Decide How You’ll Manage

Despite challenges, switching from long-term let to short-term let has its rewards; for example, short term let yields can be far higher than long-term rental gross incomes in some places.

Some landlords opt to go it alone. If you don’t have a regular job, managing your own short-term rental unit or even managing multiple units might be a very satisfying way to spend your time.

If you are already pressed for time though, consider having a property management company handle all or part of the short-term letting process on your behalf or use a company like ours to manage the cleaning! We specialize in connecting landlords with pre-vetted cleaners, meaning your property is guaranteed to look hotel-ready in time for your guests.

The Takeaway: Is it Worth the Effort?

Once you’ve conducted a bit of research and decided that you’re ready to switch from long-term rental to short-term let, all that remains is prepping your property, marketing it, and maintaining readiness between guests.

Whether you do the work yourself or get professional help shouldering the load, you’re likely to find that in many markets, short term rentals are a lucrative addition to your portfolio.

Kate Teng Avatar

By Kate Teng