There are quite a few things a landlord needs to prepare before embarking on short term rentals. Some of these are legal requirements, some to do with managing the rentals, some to help market the property, and some just plain good common sense.
There are a number of key legal requirements for a short term rental to be permissible:
- How long can it be rented for?
Many cities have local laws restricting the maximum number of days a property can be short term let – London, for instance, limits it to 90 days per year. UK law sets a limit of 140 days per year. If you wish to let beyond that you will need to change your planning permission use description.
- Planning restrictions and covenants may forbid short term rental.
Check, and maybe get advice, about your property’s planning status.
- Is the property on a mortgage?
If so the mortgage lender may impose restrictions on whether you can short term let.
- Is the property leasehold?
If so it will be necessary to get permission from the freehold owner.
- Are you a tenant in the property?
If so you will need to check the terms of your lease to verify short term rental is allowed.
Managing the Short Term Rental
- To give you the landlord security, and the prospective tenant the sense that you are efficient, you need to have in place good systems for your short term rental.
- Arrange appropriate insurance.
Your normal contents insurance will not provide protection if you have tenants in your property. Arrange specific cover to protect your possessions.
- Set a realistic price.
This will depend on many factors. Are there lots of local rival landlords? How much do you have to pay to provide and maintain items like linen and cooking equipment? How much is additional insurance going to cost you? How many days, or weeks, do you realistically expect to be able to let the property?
- Make the process of finding, booking, and paying for your short term rental easy and straightforward for the prospective guest.
- Set up robust arrangements for cleaning and maintenance for the property.
- Give your guest plenty of information.
Plenty of instructions about how to use equipment, details of where to find local shops and facilities, and very importantly, a point of contact to get in touch with you if they have problems, will help the tenant to feel you are looking after them.
What Should Be There for the Tenant
With short term rental, your prospective guest is looking for a place that is ready to use straight away. They won’t be bringing any of their own furniture or cooking equipment, so need the home to have all reasonable facilities provided. Here is a suggested list of things they will need:
- towels and bed linen
- spare blankets
- ironing board and iron
- dishes, cutlery, and pans
- microwave oven
- coffee maker, kettle, teapot, and toaster
- hand soap, dishwashing liquid, all-purpose cleaners, bleach, and disinfectant
- toilet paper, paper towels, and tissues
- first-aid kit
- fire extinguisher
- functioning smoke detectors
- remotes for television and other devices
- bin liners
- spare light bulbs
A nice welcoming touch, which will set you apart from other local short term rental landlords might include some of these:
- food in the refrigerator and cupboard, such as coffee, milk, juice, or cereals
- selection of DVDs that guests can watch if they get tired of sightseeing
- playing cards and other games
- guidebooks and maps to the area
- flowers, chocolates, maybe a bottle of something, to welcome them