Property Management Blog

The Pros and Cons of Owning Long-Term vs. Short-Term Rentals

Palomar Property Services - Thursday, May 28, 2020

There are many things to consider when determining whether to list your property as a long-term or short-term rental. To optimize returns on your investment property, it’s important to understand the benefits and drawbacks to both options. 

Location is a top factor. Short-term rentals are becoming a popular alternative to traditional hotels for many vacation-goers in popular touristy areas. If you have a property in the heart of San Diego or a coastal city like Carlsbad or Encinitas, then you might consider a short-term rental for the premium nightly rates and abundant tourists. On the other hand, a long-term rental provides more stability with consistent yearlong tenants. 

Here is a guide to some of the pros and cons of short-term and long-term rentals. 

BENEFITS OF SHORT TERM RENTALS 

A short-term rental is a condo, home or apartment that is rented anywhere from one night to one month. On average, short-term rentals are occupied for a few days at a time. Below are some pros of investing in a short-term rental.

GREATER EARNING POTENTIAL

Normally, short-term rentals in destination areas charge higher prices than long-term rentals. Especially during holidays, big sporting events, concerts, and high-season, renters expect to pay premium rates. As the property manager, you can change your nightly rates depending on demand. This can increase the income you are making at a faster pace.

VACATION FLEXIBILITY

Since renters only stay at your property for a few days at a time, you have more flexibility to use your home for yourself. You can block off periods where you know you’ll be using it, or have a spur-of-the-moment trip if no one is currently renting the property. 

MAINTENANCE AND REPAIR UPKEEP

If you live near the property and prepare the home for each new guest, then you’ll be able to catch and fix repairs quicker since you’ll be on-sight more often.

TAX DEDUCTIONS

If you plan to rent your place for 14 days or less per year, then you could qualify for the 14-day rule. It states a property owner will not have to pay taxes on their rental earnings if they only rent 14 days or less a year. You are also allowed to deduct expenses related to the rental like insurance, maintenance, and utilities. 

POSSIBLE CONS OF SHORT TERM RENTALS


STRICTER REGULATIONS

Some areas have strict rules for short-term rentals. Escondido and other cities in San Diego County require a transient occupancy tax for short-term rentals, occupancy limits, and other requirements. 

MAINTENANCE COSTS

Since short-term rentals are considered more like hotels, guests expect a fully furnished home. Because the turnover rate on short term rentals is much higher, you will find yourself with more cleaning fees as well as re-stocking towels, sheets, paper goods and more. This can make a dent in your profits.

FLUCTUATING DEMAND

Most renters will only stay in the property for a few days, so there will likely be periods where no one is renting the property, especially during out-of-season. 

LONG TERM RENTAL BENEFITS

A long-term rental is a condo, home or apartment that is rented out for longer than a month. It’s common for long-term rental owners to have tenants sign a yearlong lease. Below are some benefits of having a long-term rental property. 

MORE CONSISTENT REVENUE

Less turnover means a consistent income for the duration of the lease. There is also no seasonal variance or off-seasons with long-term rentals because a typical lease is one year. 

YOU CAN HIRE A PROPERTY MANAGER

Hiring a professional team of seasoned property managers will save you time, money and headaches in the long run. Property management companies typically handle everything from tenant screening and placement, to being compliant with state and federal laws, and managing all things maintenance and repair. Leaving the property owner with more time, money and peace of mind. 

LESS ADVERTISING COSTS

Unlike short-term leases that need constant advertisement because of their high turnover, long-term leases only need advertisement when the tenant is moving out.

NO UTILITY EXPENSES

Long term renters are usually responsible for taking care of their utility expenses like water and electricity. Renters may also be responsible for some lawn maintenance. 

LESS CLEANING AND MAINTENANCE EXPENSES

A lower turnover rate means you will typically spend less time cleaning and prepping your property for new guests. Less time inspecting, showing and servicing things that the tenant would be responsible for. 

CONS OF LONG TERM RENTALS 


RISK OF DAMAGE

More time spent in a property usually means more risk of causing damage. Tenants could create more wear on appliances, flooring and walls - especially if they have pets or young children. Make sure to include a damage clause within your renters contract and collect a deposit.

LESS FLEXIBILITY

Without proper tenant screening, you could find yourself in contract with a poor tenant. Unless certain conditions qualify for the eviction process, a DIY landlord may be dealing with a headache of issues. It also means no spur-of-the-moment vacations, since your property will most likely be rented out the majority of the year. 

We know deciding whether to rent short-term or long-term isn't simple. Our expert team is here to help you make the best personal and financial decision for your rental property.

If you’re interested in finding out how much you can rent your space for - fill out our FREE Rental Analysis and receive an in-depth market report on your property.