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Quick fix or long-term solution – exploring the pros and cons of short and longer lets

November 30, 2021

Short-term lettings are bang-on trend locally – with some declaring Brighton and Hove the Airbnb capital of the UK!

What could be better than letting out your property for a few days, pocketing the fee and then waving goodbye to your hopefully happy guests?

If you’re just letting out a room, you can even qualify for tax breaks, with up to £7,500 staying in your account, safe from the taxman – or woman!.*

Sound too good to be true? As with most things, there are pros and cons.

Unlike more traditional Assured Shorthold Tenancies, where you let out a property for a minimum of six months, this type of “ad hoc renting” offers little financial security or guaranteed income.

As a long-established lettings agent, you might think I’m naturally biased! But here, I put both lettings schemes under the spotlight, as both options have pros and cons.

Short-term lets – These do exactly what they say on the tin and involve a short-term agreement, generally for a week or two and often for just a few days. Airbnb is a household name but there are other competitors and I am talking generally.

The advantages are obvious. There’s no long-term commitment, short stays can be lucrative and if they cause problems for you or neighbours, you simply wave goodbye!

In this world, we refer to occupants as “guests” and property owners as “hosts”. Often they live side by side, under the same roof – or in annexes and/or extensions.

Alternatively, guests may want flats or larger properties, ideal for extended family holidays or stag and hen weekends.

So what’s the downside? As with all things that sound too good to be true, short-term lets can be fraught!

Unlike Assured Shorthold Tenancies, you’ve got no real security and potentially a basinful of grief!

Short lets might be great for flexibility but this also brings uncertainty. Get a chilly and rainy Summer – we’re no stranger to those – and “void periods” can be frequent and common. This quickly negates any increased revenue, hosts may have enjoyed, particularly during the pandemic and the popularity of staycations.

Our love affair with staycations could easily change – people may prefer to fly off to The Med, or further afield, next year, so nothing is certain, apart from the vagaries of the British weather!

Large gatherings can also be noisy. Hen and and stag weekends are rarely celebrated over a cup of tea and a digestive! Neighbours’ tempers may get frayed and your phone will be red hot!

You’ll also be responsible for pre-let cleaning on a regular basis – including changing sheets and towels, providing breakfast packs and handing over keys! Is that what you want – or is it easier to go for a longer-term rent and letting agent?

Property owners also need to fork out for utility bills, council tax and furnishing and equipping a short-term let . There’s also a risk of damage.

See the following survey for more info:
6 out of 10 home-share hosts have problem guests – Aviva plc

By way of contrast, Assured Shorthold Tenancies are less flexible and more tightly regulated, and daily rates tend to be lower, if you do a spot of number-crunching.

On a positive note, tenants are vetted, they pay utility bills and council tax, and are also covered by well-regulated deposit schemes.

They are also tied into fixed-term minimum rental periods (at least six months), making it easier for owners to project cash flow and cover any mortgage and maintenance payments.

This type of rental arrangement is also in short supply locally – and properties rarely stay empty for long!

What to find out more? Do get in touch for an informal, no obligation chat.

 

*Rent a room in your home: The Rent a Room Scheme – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

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