Should You Allow Long-term Vacation Rentals?

LTR vacations

The events of the last two years have led to many vacation rental owners accepting longer stays than they used to in the past due to the “workcation” phenomenon.  Tired of international travel restrictions, many have chosen to take extended stays domestically.  While these longer-term rentals usually command less income than a greater quantity of short term rentals, there are other advantages to long-term rentals.

Long Term Vacation Rental Pros

The most obvious benefit of long-term rentals is the length and predictability of the income window.  Hosts know how much income they will be taking over a period of time.

Long term rentals can also be easier to manage.  There are fewer cleanings (you won’t see us as often, sob) and fewer turnovers (they’ll often supply their own toilet paper past whatever the original supply you leave, etc.).  This can mean less stress and cost.

Long Term Vacation Rental Cons

The benefit of long term guests is also a con.  You have less flexibility as a host in offering booking windows to future guests.

You also have, in a way, less oversight over the property.  Whereas with short term guests you and your team will be in the property frequently and hence can see any changes or damages, with long term guests that’s less possible.  It’s common courtesy to give advance notice to enter the property to long-term guests, even for a routine maintenance visit.  

Municipal regulations may also kick in once a guest has stayed a certain number of days, which can include offering a lease of sorts to various rights that are retained by the tenant.  You have to find out what the rules are where you are hosting.

A Hybrid Approach

Rather than committing to only short or long term guests, many hosts have accepted a mix of guests, corresponding to high and low seasons.  In listings which are subject to seasonality, it makes the most sense to maximize revenue during high season by having a high frequency of short term guests while mitigating the inconsistency of guests during low season by putting a long term renter in place to smooth the revenue.

When taking on a long term rental it’s important to screen for the right guest.  A short term guest will only be around a few days or at most a couple weeks, and even if they are disagreeable or unpleasant you always know in the back of your mind that they’ll be gone soon (and their behavior will be addressed in a review).  With a long term guest you’ll want to make sure there’s a good fit for you and the property.  This can be done by a simple questionnaire or perhaps even a video call.  Some of the platforms block exchange of information before a booking occurs, but this can usually be overcome by a bit of creativity.  By doing a bit of due diligence on the front end, you can feel more comfortable when the guest makes a booking through one of the platforms (or through your own website).

This content originally appeared in our twice-monthly Guest Book Newsletter.

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