Many people may think that operating a property as a short-term rental increases tenant damage on the asset through wear-and-tear. In most cases, this could not be farther from the truth. By their nature, short-term rentals get more attention than traditional rental properties; with turnovers occurring more frequently, so do cleanings, touchup paint jobs, and other basic repair items. Fixes and repairs are addressed much faster and with more frequency than in a conventional rental property where, for example, a small faucet drip may persist for months if not reported by the tenants.
For fresh investors deciding whether a traditional tenant-landlord strategy or Airbnb strategy is best for their asset, or for seasoned investors contemplating the future of their asset — we urge you to consider the benefits of an Airbnb strategy to reduce tenant damage and ensure constant upkeep.
Because part of the turnover process between short-term rental guests is a thorough cleaning, you can be sure that your property is kept in tip-top shape. Gone are the ancient dust bunnies behind the bed; they won’t exist as the property gets cleaned too often for them to accumulate.
With traditional, long-term tenants, you are rolling the dice in terms of tenant cleanliness and damage. Tenants can be extremely messy, especially given that they do not own the property and don’t have a vested interest in its longevity or upkeep. Unfortunately, long-term neglect can bring even bigger problems such as rodents, insect infestations, and mold or mildew among many others. Fixing these tenant damage issues is not only time-consuming but prohibitively expensive — leaving you with higher expenses, lower profits, and increased downtime.
Fortunately, with short-term renters, you will have the property thoroughly cleaned on a regular basis. In addition, with shorter stays, tenants do not have the opportunity to do the long-term damage that traditional tenants can do. Even if you have an incredibly messy short-term renter, you can clean the unit right after their stay, likely thwarting any longer-term issues as many of these are built up over time.
Not all maintenance issues are catastrophic to tenants. Take, for example, a running toilet in an apartment that includes utilities. A typical tenant might not notice this or care to report it. After all, the toilet still works and, in this case, they aren’t paying for water — obviously, this is just money going down the drain if you are the property owner. Like in this example, a running toilet or dripping faucet could persist for months or potentially years with a long-term tenant, but not with short-term renters.
You or your trusted vendor and management team will be in the unit much more with short-term tenants while turning the unit, giving an opportunity for small items, which could grow into big problems, to be caught early and fixed fast. While it may be true that short-term rentals require more touch-up paint from time to time than a traditional rental, with more guests coming and going, your expenses will be dramatically reduced by doing small repairs and touch-ups more regularly than having to spend a significant investment each time you turn your property to make it appealing while searching for a new long-term tenant.
Additionally, with more tenants coming through the property, you are more likely to get a tenant who will in fact report any issues, if it is something you don’t catch first. It’s most important to get these little problems addressed early because fixing a small drip from a plumbing line is easy, but once it’s had the time to do serious damage and create mold, remediation efforts will be much more expensive.
You might be thinking at this point that the frequent cleaning and repairs, while great for the property, seem like an administrative hassle. While generating passive income is one of the biggest perks of deploying a short-term rental strategy, investors must be cognizant of the opportunity costs incurred to manage the rental and all of the upkeep well. To keep passive income truly passive, best-in-class full-service property management services can partner with investors to do the hard work so they don’t have to.
In summary, with short-term rentals, you are going to have more tenants with shorter stays and more regular cleanings while having less wear and tear and damage to your property. Less tenant damage means less costly repairs and more profit to your bottom line, as well as a longer life for your asset. To many, short-term rentals are the best of both worlds: being able to operate your property successfully without dealing with all the headaches of a long-term tenant. It’s important to remember that you don’t exactly get to choose your tenants, and sometimes it’s best to keep these relationships short and sweet!
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