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Short-term vs long-term property rentals: which is a better investment?

When it comes to property rentals, there are generally two options – long-term rentals, which are typically 12 months and longer, and short-term rentals that range from a day to a week, with some up to six months.

While both offer returns, to decide which option is best for you let’s consider the pros and cons of each.

Long-term rental

When considering long-term rentals, here are the pros and cons:


  • Consistent income that’s paid on a specific date each month.
  • You don’t need to worry about the seasonality of your property.
  • Easy to manage, particularly when using a professional property management company.
  • Your tenants pay the property’s utility bills.
  • Your tenants are responsible for cleaning and general day-to-day property upkeep.
  • With a lower rental turnover and greatly reduced marketing costs, your property management fees are cheaper.
  • Long-term rental properties are often rented unfurnished, providing a saving for property owners.
  • A good long-term tenant who looks after your property provides you with peace of mind.


On the downside of long-term property lets, disadvantages include:

  • Less to no flexibility if you may want to use the property yourself.
  • You run the risk of delinquent tenants and tough eviction laws.
  • Lower rental rates compared to short-term lets.
  • More paperwork in terms of legal agreements, letters, policies, etc.

Short-term rental

While long-term rentals produce a consistent income and are easier to manage, there are some convincing reasons to consider a short-term rental instead:


  • Short-term rentals cater to both business and holiday lets, as well as to people moving to an area and deciding where they want to buy.
  • You have the flexibility to use the property for yourself in the low season or between bookings.
  • Higher rentals return compared to long-term lets and, even though management and marketing costs may be higher, the greater income potential will offset these costs.
  • You can outsource your property’s bookings, management and marketing to a professional property management service.
  • The maintenance of short-term lets is generally easier to manage because the property is thoroughly cleaned between guests and maintenance issues are quickly identified.
  • Another big benefit of short-term rentals is that prices can be increased based on seasonality to maximise profits.


  • Depending on where your property is located, you may have periods of low occupancy or a lack of occupancy predictability.
  • You’ll need to factor in the initial cost of furnishing and kitting out the property, as well as the month-to-month costs of levies and utilities.
  • The risk of breakages and theft need to be considered, particularly with high occupancy throughout the year.
  • Managing the property, bookings, and marketing is time-consuming unless you outsource this to a professional property management company.
  • All day-to-day maintenance is the property owner’s responsibility.

So, what to do? Weigh up the pros and cons for yourself and your property. Consider where your property is located and how likely it is that you’ll have good occupancy for short-term rentals. In a nutshell, both offer a return. While long term rentals will offer a steady, reliable income, short-term rentals will provide a greater return, particularly in sought-after areas.