Short-Term-Lets Advice

With new figures revealing an increase in the number of homes available for rent, a leading local lettings agent is reminding both landlords and tenants of the practical issues they need to bear in mind when agreeing short-term lets.

Statistics published by industry body the Association of Residential Lettings Agents (ARLA) for the final three months of 2011 found that almost half (47%) of lettings agents across the UK had seen an increase in rental properties coming onto the market, a rise of 18% from the same period last year.

Shropshire-based Nock Deighton believes the figures reflect the growing trend of potential house-hunters who are choosing to rent a property, rather than buy outright, while more and more homeowners are also looking to the private rented sector as a viable alternative to selling, allowing them to keep their properties as a long-term investment.

“Short-term lettings provide great flexibility for both landlords and house hunters,” Dawn Clarke, Director of Nock Deighton, and also ARLA’s regional representative for Shropshire and Staffordshire, explained. “Short-term lets, which can range from as little as one week to a few months, offer a practical solution for someone who, perhaps, has found a buyer for their home, but not yet secured the right property to buy themselves. Similarly, they give individuals the chance to ‘test’ out a new location before committing to a full-time move, or provide greater ‘home comforts’ than a hotel to people working away from home for short periods of time.”

Dawn advises landlords and tenants that even with short-term lettings, a planned and professional approach is vital.

“It’s important with short-term tenancies to set a price to cover utility bills at the start of the rental period, while if it’s the first time a landlord has rented out their property, they must inform both their mortgage and insurance providers, as it may require a few amendments to their original terms and conditions.”

She also warns landlords to be aware of unrealistic tenant expectations, with many short-term lets assuming that landlords will automatically provide cleaning and laundry services, and to take all necessary precautions when it comes to payment. “For very short-term lets, card payments can often represent an unacceptable degree of risk for the landlord, so regardless of payment type, it is always worth ensuring funds have cleared ahead of the start of the tenancy,” Dawn concluded.

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