The number of tenants requiring short-term lets is rising as employers increasingly expect their staff to be mobile and to work for short stretches in different locations.
Form the landlord’s point of view, short-term lets are more work because the property must be in immaculate condition at all times and there is the ongoing need to market it for the next vacant period. In addition to higher set-up and maintenance costs, insurance premiums can be higher. However, rents are significantly higher and in the right location (usually city centers) a short-term let offers a better yield than a long-term one. Typical short-term lets are company and holiday lets.
Company Lets – Corporate Lets
A company or corporate let is when you have a contract with a firm to accommodate their employees as tenants. It can pay very well, but requires properties of a very high standard. Senior executives sometimes have a working routine of being in one location for two days then moving to another region but prefer the familiarity of a house or flat to the anonymity of hotel rooms. Beware that corporations may suddenly decide to relocate and no longer require property or even run out of cash to pay you. If you go for this market, make sure there is more than one suitably large firm in the area. Hospitals and universities are other organizations that sometimes require short-term, high quality accommodation.
Obviously, the employee needs to be within easy reach of his or her workplace. Those without families are likely to prefer city-centre locations near shops and leisure facilities. Those with families tend to go for suburban or rural locations with good transport links, preferably near a park. Tenants are likely to be professionals and will have high expectations of local schools if they have a family with them. For those from abroad, an international school within easy reach could be important.
Lets can be long or short-term, and often include a charge for water, gas and electricity so that the client does not have to deal with setting up utility bills.
What you need to provide
An executive with no family or one who stays in the accommodation only during the working week is going to want a one or two bed-roomed property with roomy living space. Families need more bedrooms, bathrooms and living space, a well-equipped utility room, and a garden suitable for children. Secure car parking is essential. The tenants will expect high quality televisions and viewing packages and hi-fi equipment, broadband access and a well planned kitchen. Furniture should be modern and stylish. At the top end, corporate clients expect luxuries such as Egyptian cotton sheets and limestone bathrooms. Long-term professional tenants may prefer to come with their own furniture, but since they are likely to have vacated their own family home, may also wish you to provide it. Decoration should be elegant with accessories such as antiques or artwork. Some corporate tenants will expect a maid and a laundry/garden service.