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I was just talking to one of my people, and he thought that long term stays would be less hassle than short term stays. This got me thinking about the tradeoffs between short term and long term stays. Here’s my personal list of pros and cons.
To be clear, long versus short is not well defined, but for the purposes of this discussion, let’s say that short is anything less than a month, and long is anything longer.
Pros for short term:
Meet lots of people from (hopefully) all over the world. Make new friends. Or at least make some useful contacts. (The last two sentence may be overly optimistic. How often does one make useful new acquaintances in this business?)
If you don’t like your guests, they will be gone soon.
Provided there is plenty of demand, make more money.
If you are using Airbnb or a similar site which uses a reviewing system, it takes less time to build up a reasonable number of reviews.
Cons for short term:
Much more work for the same number of days. Checking in, checking out, cleaning and replacing sheets and pillow cases.
If you don’t have plenty of demand, it’s a bit pressuring to have to worry about new bookings all the time, especially if the short term bookings are very short.
Pros for long term:
Not so much work for the same number of days, compared to short term.
Less pressure to get the bookings.
Cons for long term:
You don’t get to meet new people as frequently.
If you don’t like your guests, you may be stuck with them until you figure out how to get rid of them. My guy suggested adding a clause in the contract saying that either party could give a months notice, but I don’t know how many people would go for this. Also, one would have to worry about evicting them if things got bad. This particularly seems to be a concern for Americans, based on discussions in this forum. In many part of the US it seems that after a month tenant rights come into force, and then a squatter is harder to budge.
Make less money than short term stays, assuming you have plenty of demand.
If you are using Airbnb or a similar site which uses a reviewing system, it takes longer to build up a reasonable number of reviews.
In Los Angeles, CA, if you decide to remove your long term rental from the market you are required to pay relocation fees to the tenants. Relocation fees can be very high per the linked website. This was the final decider between short term and long term rental as far as my husband was concerned. He said, “There’s no way I’m paying anybody to move out of my house”.
I have done long term rentals in my home for 5 years before trying Airbnb. I’d say the biggest drawbacks of long term are
Fear of evicting but then you do have a security deposit which can be used for one of the three months it takes to kick them out. It can be uncomfortable to live with someone that is squatting… miserable!
I have found that after someone is in my home for a while they start thinking of it as their home. They feel as if they should have a say in what should and should not happen as far as the rules of the home. Familiarity breeds contempt is at play here.
Examples: I had one roommate whom started moving her furniture into my family room and got angry when I moved some of my furniture into a room that she wanted to do yoga in. She started cooking at the same time as our family which was against the rules and cause chaos in our kitchen.
I have learned that guests are much more respectful than roommates after a while. This is a generalization…i know, but in 5 years of roommates (about 20) I had about 3 or 4 respectful for their duration of stay. The rest I was so glad they left. I did make 3 or 4 good friends though =)
Yes, that’s a very good point, about long term residents getting too comfortable, that I forgot to mention in my initial post. Other people have also mentioned similar things on this forum. For example, I remember @cabinhost said something similar. To be clear, when you write:
You mean “guests” are short term vs “roommates” which are long term? Or by guests do you just mean people who come through a service like Airbnb?
Guests are short term and roommates are month to month. I wouldn’t see an Airbnb guest even if more than a month moving in their furniture like our roommate did but I have had bad experiences with Airbnb long term guests being very comfortable and then disrespectful of the rules. (started bringing unannounced people over, not supervising children and dumping them on us…)
Once you develop a relationship with them it is harder to bring up the issues since the issues slowly develop and maybe they don’t bother you at first because the relationship has changed.
Also, I am making three times the money on one bedroom with Airbnb than I do with one bedroom renting to a lodger. I’d rather just have my house to myself and rent on Airbnb only one third the time making the same money as a full time lodger.
I still have two lodgers and this just happened: They both casually mentioned to me “my girlfriend/wife is coming to stay on in a couple weeks.” Then later (days before their expected arrival) when I questioned them further it seems they are inviting them to stay with no idea of what day they are leaving for at least a week. AND they are both having their significant others here for the same dates! I should have asked for details in writing but because I like both of these awesome roommates (both very respectful) I didn’t. My bad. Now I have 10 people in my house for a week with three bathrooms (5 in one bathroom but it is on them!)
True, My neighbour had a long term guest who painted the bedroom walls and dresser a revolting green colour. He painted the nice white wicker headboard and nightstands dark brown. There have also been long term renters in our complex who have been noisy, sweary partiers.
I prefer short - one of the reasons is that if they’re not a good fit, I don’t have to put up with them for long.
Faheem, isn’t your set-up such that you live in a detached building from your rental guests? If you are truly independent from each other’s daily existence, I would think your main concerns would be whether your “tenant” adheres to your house rules about the rental space, invitees, utility usage, responsibility for plumbing problems, accidental/intentional damages, rent payment…all the normal things involved in a long term landlord-tenant situation.
A long term (LT) guest would not expect to pay your short term (ST) rate so you will need to decide whether the adjusted lower figure is worth it to you for the perceived trade-offs.
I have a number of LT rentals and only one ST. The LTR’s are far easier but the ST is more rewarding because of the steady stream of positive feedback reviews and most importantly, the revenue. The ST rental nets almost three times more than the LT units of similar size.
Of course, if you are sharing common living areas with your guest, that’s a whole 'nother ball of wax and I would look to the experience and stories of many on the Forum.
No. It’s an unusual setup where the guest room is in a separate building from the one we live in, which is accessed by a bridge joining the two buildings. You can see the photos at http://towerroom.net, which redirects to my Airbnb listing.
Wow, that’s a big difference. Is that typical? Is your location very desirable?
One of my lisitngs is 2 rooms in our home which means 2 different parties. The revenue would be more IF i had demand. In south Florida its the slowest time of the year including the other 7 months.
I only had 2 girls staying with me for a months, and its been wonderful. I had doubts when i started giving big discounts on long term if i am going have any interested as i dont really let using kitchen. Only something very very light. Girls had no problem with it, another guest that is arriving on Tuesday said he wont cook at all.
I think by not allowing full use of a kitchen i elliminated a lot of frustration.
Also i understood that people who came here for work are the best candidates in shared house long term. FIrst, they are not home 12 hours a day. By the time they get dinner and return its already after 8 pm. I observed it with all of my working guests. They leave the house before we start our day. Then they are tired, all they want to do is lay in bed, watch a movie or read.
We certainly have a lot of material for a best seller!
One thing I like about short term guests (for hosts who are in it for the long haul) is that they may become regular renters for longer periods of time. I’ve had guests who have stayed for just a few days who have then gone and booked (well in advance) for two, three or four week stays in the future.
I now know these people to some extent and I know that they have lives at home - so the prospect of them becoming squatters is minimal. They’ve road-tested the place and I’ve road-tested them as guests!
At what point do they become tenants and not guests?
I may be a chicken but my first long term tenant scared me. Before her, when I was interviewing people, I met up with some real kooks. One woman came over and was making demands while viewing the apartment. “When will you be changing this carpet out for tile? I’m not a fan of carpet.” Um never… “How much are you home and on your deck. I need my privacy and don’t like a lot of people around. And how much do you have people over?”
Reminded me of the I love Lucy episode where Lucy interviews people for the maid’s job and the maid turns out to be bossier than the boss.
Generally, STR’s are far more lucrative than LTR’s; provided the important contributing factors are in play to bring in the bookings, such as location, amenities, photos, reviews …
Without going into boring details, the LT rental market dictates that 1 bedroom units such as mine rent for about $1100-$1700/mo. They are furnished with only appliances, floor covering and window covering. I rent mine at the lower end of that scale. My STR is of similar size and is in a better (though not prime) locale and is completely equipped for a vacationer. Similar units in the building rent for $110-$220/ni. I rent mine in the middle of that spectrum. I target strictly couples, whereas the sister properties allow up to 6 (in the same size unit!) and target families/groups. They are booked more and generate more revenue…but I’m not complaining.
I used to advertise on Craigslist. It was very easy to find a roommate…took about 4 days and 12 interviews. I stopped when I had a man who told me he had been in prison for embezzlement and wanted a second chance. I checked him out on one of the online background checks and it had no record of him! I looked for his story on the internet and it showed up. It scared me! I know with Air we don’t get to background each person we have stay with us but the class of people is different…not the type that cannot get an apartment due to bad credit or issues with the law. They are not here to stay for long so the risk I feel is less than someone who is hanging out for months.
I wonder…if you find only people that want more than one month at a time on Airbnb would your homeowners insurance deny the claim? I know my lodgers are covered by my homeowners. The only difference is the third party company, Airbnb. Would we still need to pay the occupancy tax on the guests that stay longer than a month?
Long-term guests (> 10 days) feel like home, move furniture, invite friends. Lots of long-term guests are in the apartment all day, cook 3 times a day, use a lot of utilities.
Whereas vacationers do sightseeing, go out for dinner, explore the city, go to the beach all day, come home late, are exhausted and go to sleep.
I get a lot of long-term inquiries (on Airbnb). All of them want to view the apartment before, negotiate, pay in cash or anything else that is unacceptable. Lots of them obviously have never used Airbnb before (no reviews, no photo, no verification).
Totally off topic, but I like tiles too. Tiles are very popular in India. Based on what I know about the climate in Hawaii, I’d expect it to be popular there too. Is it not? Or are there cultural factors at play as well?