Unexpected Costs of Renting to Short-Term Tenants and How to Avoid Them

For the last few years, short-term rental properties have been a popular way for owners to make money on their homes. This is especially true in Orlando, where there are constantly tourists coming and going. Sites like Airbnb and Vrbo and HomeAway are all over the place, offering visitors a chance to book stays from just a few days to several months.

There are a lot of costs associated with short-term tenants, however. Before you decide to turn your rental property into a vacation property, think about what that means for your maintenance costs, the work required between turnovers, and the potential for vacancy.

Furnishing a Short-Term Orlando Rental Property

One of the earliest expenses for rental property owners is that you’ll need to provide furniture. When you rent out a home to long-term tenants, you don’t have to worry about furnishing the property. Your tenants are going to move in their own things.

However, a short-term rental will require beds in every bedroom, comfortable sofas and chairs in the common areas, and a dining set in the kitchen, dining room, or both. You’ll also need patio furniture and all the essentials such as pots and pans, plates and silverware, and linens.

Short term tenants will expect Wi-Fi and cable television. You’ll be paying for the utilities, which means the constant running of the air conditioner will be your expense.

Cleaning and Maintenance Costs

Your property will have to be cleaned between every tenant. This isn’t much of an inconvenience if your renters are staying in place for months at a time, but it can be expensive when you have new guests in your property every week.

With the Covid pandemic still an ongoing concern among hotels and short-term rental homes, you have to clean more thoroughly than ever. You’ll need to invest in a highly qualified, professional cleaning crew that can give your property the detail and care that it needs when it’s being cleaned before new tenants.

There will also be maintenance costs. All rental homes need repairs from time to time, but with a short term rental, your tenants are going to have a little more wear and tear. They know it’s a temporary place to stay, and they won’t care as much about the property as long-term tenants who think of it as their home.

Tenants Aren’t Well-Screened

Another potential cost is that short-term vacation tenants are rarely screened as thoroughly as long-term tenants. When someone wants to move into your home with a 12-month lease, we check for criminal histories, credit issues, and we verify income and talk to former landlords. Short term renters aren’t subject to that kind of scrutiny. You don’t really know who is staying at your property, and that can bring a lot of risk.

Short Term Rental Property Vacancies

Short Term Rental Property VacanciesThe largest cost is often vacancy. While you’ll likely be able to charge more per-night with a short term property, you’re still going to make more with long-term tenants. You won’t have someone in your property all the time when you market it to short-term renters. All those periods of vacancies means you’re not earning any income at all. During travel restrictions like the recent pandemic, you could find yourself going months without a short-term tenant.

We always recommend long-term tenancies, even in Orlando, where we have millions of tourists visiting every year. We’re happy to talk about this with you further, and to tell you about our professional Orlando property management services. Please contact our talented team at Park Avenue Property Management.