Increase in rental properties
According to ARLA in the last quarter of 2011, 47 per cent
of its members witnessed an increase in the number of rental
properties coming onto the market because they could not be sold; a
rise from 18 per cent just a year before.
ARLA's Operations Manager, Ian Potter, said: "The rise in this
figure suggests that homeowners struggling to sell their homes due
to the sluggish market are increasingly looking to the private
rented sector to utilize their property in the short term.
"It's likely that many of these reluctant landlords will be
attracted by the flexibility of a short-term let. Renting a home on
a shorter basis can be a good option for anyone who has found a
buyer for their home, but not found the right property to buy
themselves. Equally, for anyone 'testing' a new area before
committing to move there, or working away from home for short
periods, renting can offer more stability and home comforts than a
Short-term lets can range from one week to a few months, and they
are particularly common in cities where major events are held, such
as the London Olympics and the Edinburgh Festival.
Tim Hyatt, President of ARLA said: "It is important to be wary of
the potential pitfalls when renting out a property short-term,
especially if it has previously been owner-occupied. No matter how
short the tenancy, it is critical that landlords take a planned and
To mitigate some common risks, Freeborns advises the
Pre-agree bills- Tenant payment of utility bills over a short term
can be problematic, therefore it is best to set a price to cover
costs at the start of the rental period. This avoids the
occasionally problematic issue of recouping or disputing
Prepare the property for rent- As with long-term lets, it is wise
to thoroughly clean the entire property and insure the small
details, such as replacing light bulbs and clearing outside areas
are done before prospective tenants visit or move in to the
If you are moving out of your home to turn it into a rental
property, ensure it is free from personal effects and put some
items into storage if necessary.
If you are renting out your own home for the first time,notify your
mortgage and insurance providers as you may need to amend the terms
of both if you are changing the use of your home to a rental
Be aware of tenants' expectations- With short-term lets, tenants
often expect amenities that are not usually offered in the private
rental sector; a common example is the assumption that the landlord
will provide a cleaning and laundry service for bedding.
Be careful when it comes to payment -Offering a variety of payment
options, where possible, can encourage prospective tenants. It
should be noted, however, that taking card payments can often
represent an unacceptable degree of risk for the short-term
landlord. Regardless of payment type, it is always worth ensuring
funds have cleared ahead of the start of the tenancy. If funds are
being transferred direct to your bank account, it is always best to
use a dedicated account.
Meet the incoming tenant -Do not arrange for keys to be collected
through a third party other than a reputable lettings agent. It is
far safer to meet and hand over keys in person, explain the
workings of your property and agree when you will collect the keys
at the end of the tenancy.
If these tips are followed, it should be possible to strike a
balance between remaining flexible with your rental offering and
being a responsible short-term let landlord. Any potential tenants
must use an agent with experience in this area - to ensure a
transparent and flexible arrangement.
Landlords should also be mindful that if a deposit is taken, it is
likely to require protection through a Tenancy Deposit Scheme such