Weighing the Benefits: Short-Term vs. Long-Term Rentals for Landlords

Picture this: you’ve come into possession of a delightful rental property in the heart of London. Over your morning cup of tea, you’re faced with a pressing decision. Do you dive into the dynamic realm of short-term rentals, opening your doors to an array of travellers, or do you lean towards the stability and predictability of long-term rentals?

This is a dilemma many landlords grapple with, especially today, where the appeal of platforms like Airbnb coexists with the traditional comfort of extended leases.

This article will cover the nuances of both short-term and long-term rentals. By shedding light on each approach’s advantages and potential challenges, we aim to equip you with the insights needed to make informed decisions that best suit your financial aspirations, management style, and future ambitions.

Short-Term Rentals

a. What are Short-Term Rentals?

As the name suggests, short-term rentals refer to properties let out for shorter durations, typically ranging from a few days to a few weeks. These rentals have gained tremendous popularity in recent years, partly thanks to platforms facilitating such arrangements. 

Some quintessential examples include holiday rentals, where guests book properties for vacation stays; Airbnb, a platform connecting homeowners with travellers seeking unique lodging experiences; and weekend lets, often chosen by those seeking a short getaway or temporary housing solution.

b. Benefits of Short-Term Rentals for Landlords

  1. Potential for Higher Rental Income: Unlike long-term leases, where rates are often fixed for extended periods, short-term rentals allow landlords to charge a premium, especially during peak seasons or special events, thus potentially leading to a higher overall income.
  2. Flexibility in Using the Property: With tenants coming and going, you have more opportunities to access and utilise the property for personal reasons or between bookings.
  3. Easier to Keep Up with Repairs: Given the frequent turnovers, it’s often easier to spot and address maintenance issues promptly, ensuring the property remains in top condition.
  4. Opportunity for Frequent Price Adjustments: The dynamic nature of the short-term market means you can adjust prices frequently, responding to factors like demand, seasonality, or local events, thereby maximising income potential.

c. Drawbacks of Short-Term Rentals for Landlords

  1. More Maintenance and Cleaning Responsibilities: While it can be profitable, managing constant arrivals and departures can be demanding. This often means more cleaning, more admin, and more management.
  2. Seasonal Income Fluctuations: Unlike the predictability of a long-term lease, short-term rentals might yield high returns in peak season but can be quiet during off-peak times, leading to irregular income streams.
  3. High Operating Costs: Frequent tenant turnover results in higher costs – from cleaning fees to utility and operational expenses like towels, sheets, and toilet paper.
  4. Short-Term Rentals May Not Be Suitable for Your Rental Property: Not every property is suited for a revolving door of tenants. Factors such as location, property type, and even local regulations can determine if the short-term rental model is a good fit.

Long-Term Rentals

a. What are Long-Term Rentals?

Long-term rentals refer to properties that are let out for extended periods, commonly ranging from several months to a year. This traditional approach to property letting has remained a cornerstone of the rental market. 

The most common forms include traditional leases, where terms and conditions are set out for periods typically lasting a year, and yearly contracts bind the landlord and tenant to a fixed agreement spanning 12 months.

b. Benefits of Long-Term Rentals for Landlords

  1. Steady Monthly Income: With a tenant committed longer, landlords can count on a consistent and predictable income stream every month.
  2. Less Frequent Tenant Turnovers: With tenants staying for extended periods, there’s a reduced need for constant advertising, screening, and onboarding of new renters.
  3. Less Management Effort Required: Without the continuous cycle of check-ins and check-outs that short-term rentals experience, significantly less daily management is involved.
  4. Easier Budgeting and Financial Forecasting: The stability of long-term rentals allows for more accurate budgeting and financial planning, given the consistent revenue and predictable expenses.

c. Drawbacks of Long-Term Rentals for Landlords

  1. Properties Are More Susceptible to Damage: While not a given, longer stays might result in more wear and tear, especially if tenants become complacent about property care over time.
  2. Lower Profit Margins: While income is steady, long-term rentals might not offer the same premium pricing opportunities seen in short-term rentals, especially during high-demand periods.
  3. Less Flexibility in Accessing the Property: With tenants holding longer leases, it can be challenging for landlords to access their properties on a whim, whether for personal use or inspections.
  4. Rent Increases Might Be Constrained: Bound by the terms of long leases and sometimes by local regulations; landlords may find their hands tied when wanting to adjust rent prices in response to market shifts.

Key Factors to Consider in Making a Decision

Several pivotal considerations come to the fore in the quest to decide between short-term and long-term rentals. These factors aren’t merely about the potential profits but also encompass your personal preferences, the nature of your property, and the broader environment in which you operate. Here’s a closer look:

a. Local Market Conditions

  • Tourism Appeal of the Location: If your property is located in a tourist hotspot, there’s a natural pull for short-term rentals. This is because areas with high tourism often see surges in demand, especially during peak seasons or events.
  • Demand and Supply for Long-Term Housing: On the flip side, if your property has a burgeoning local population and a noticeable gap in long-term housing availability, a long-term rental might be more lucrative and stable.

b. Personal Financial Goals

  • Need for Steady Income: If your primary objective is to secure a reliable monthly income without the ups and downs of seasonal variations, long-term rentals might appeal to you more.
  • Potential for Maximising Income: Conversely, if you’re looking to capitalise on peak periods and are comfortable with fluctuations, short-term rentals offer the flexibility to adjust prices and potentially earn more.

c. Management Preferences

  • Willingness to Manage Property Frequently: Are you prepared for the regular tenant turnovers, check-ins, check-outs, and other nuances of short-term rentals? If so, this might be the path for you.
  • Desire for a Hands-Off Approach: If you’d rather not be deeply involved in the day-to-day operations and prefer fewer tenant interactions, long-term rentals might be more your pace.

d. Property Characteristics

  • Is the Property More Suited for holidaygoers or Long-Term Residents? Consider the design, amenities, and location of your property. A property near tourist attractions might be perfect for holiday rentals, whereas a suburban family home might be more attractive to long-term tenants.

Mitigating Risks in Both Approaches

Being a landlord comes with risks, whether you choose short-term or long-term rentals. From potential property damages to legal challenges, it’s crucial to be proactive in reducing these risks. Below are key strategies to help you navigate challenges in either rental approach:

a. Screening Tenants/Guests Properly

  • Diligence is Key: Before finalising a rental arrangement, it’s paramount to vet potential tenants or guests. For long-term tenants, this might include credit checks, references, and rental histories. For short-term guests, reviewing profiles, ratings, and feedback on platforms like Airbnb can offer valuable insights.

b. Having Comprehensive Insurance Cover

  • Tailored Protection: Ensure that your insurance policy is tailored to your type of rental. While standard homeowners insurance might suffice for long-term rentals, short-term rentals might require specific coverage, especially if you’re hosting guests frequently.

c. Understanding and Complying With Local Regulations

  • Stay Updated: Rental regulations can vary widely based on location and can change over time. Make it a priority to stay informed about local laws, zoning regulations, and any licensing requirements that pertain to your rental strategy.

d. Establishing Clear Rental Agreements and House Rules

  • Set Expectations: Whether it’s a formal lease agreement for a year-long tenant or house rules for a weekend guest, clarity is essential. Outline terms clearly, from payment schedules to behavioural expectations, to prevent misunderstandings and disputes.

e. Considering Property Management Services

  • Professional Assistance: If the idea of managing tenants, handling repairs, or dealing with bookings seems daunting, consider hiring a property management company. They can streamline operations, enhance guest or tenant experiences, and alleviate much of the hands-on work, giving you peace of mind.


Several key themes have emerged as we’ve journeyed through the intricate tapestry of short-term versus long-term rentals. Both rental strategies come with their own set of advantages and challenges, from the potential profitability of short-term lets in high-demand seasons to the steady income stream and reduced management that long-term leases offer.

As a landlord, it’s imperative to recognise that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Your ideal choice hinges on many factors, from financial aspirations and property characteristics to personal management preferences. The local market conditions, legal framework, and the essence of what you hope to achieve with your property all play vital roles in this decision-making process.

However, while the responsibility of choosing rests with you, remember you’re not alone in navigating the world of property rentals. Chambré, a renowned private client property specialist, is on hand to guide, support, and manage, ensuring your property venture, whether short-term or long-term, is both rewarding and hassle-free.

Take the next step in your rental journey. Partner with a property management professional like Chambré and watch your property potential truly unfold. Get in touch with us for more information.


1. What’s the primary difference between short-term and long-term rentals?

The main difference lies in the duration of the rental period. Short-term rentals typically range from a few days to a few weeks, often catering to holidaymakers or temporary lodgers. Long-term rentals, on the other hand, are traditional leases that span several months to years, usually catering to residents seeking stable accommodation.

 2. How can I determine if my property is better suited for short-term or long-term rentals?

This often depends on the property’s location, features, and the local market. Properties in tourist areas or city centres might be more appealing for short-term lets. In contrast, properties in residential areas or those with features catering to families might be better suited for long-term tenants. It’s advisable to conduct market research or consult with property specialists like Chambré to make an informed decision.

3. Is partnering with a property management company worth the cost?

For many landlords, partnering with a property management company alleviates the daily operational stresses of rentals, from tenant screenings to maintenance. While there’s a cost involved, the benefits – professional handling, potentially higher occupancy rates, and peace of mind – often outweigh the expenses. It’s essential to weigh the pros and cons based on your unique circumstances.

Back to Blog