Get Shorty


Remember that long hot summer of 2012, when the whole country came together to celebrate the Olympic Games in London, and a few canny homeowners in the capital made an absolute killing renting out their property to ticketholders from all over the world? Simpler times.

But while the possibility of another Olympic Games in the capital may seem far away, there are still plenty of opportunities for you to make some extra money from your property. There are many reasons you may be interested in short term letting - Homeowners in Wimbledon do it every year for the tournament, for example - and there are many options available on the market. Here’s a simple guide to letting your property on a short term basis.

What does ‘short term’ mean?
It’s a residential tenancy of fewer than six months where utilities, television and internet are included in the rent. Short-term properties should be fully furnished unless agreed otherwise. But the advent of Airbnb means the timescale for a short term let can now be counted in days, rather than weeks or months. For landlords seeking a guaranteed income, the longer, six-month contracts may still be the most appealing, but if you travel a lot, for example, and want to make use of your property, Airbnb and the like might be a good solution.

What are the rules for short term lets?
Before you rent your property, you need to know if you can rent your property. If you have leasehold, for example, you will need to contact the freeholder as some may restrict short lettings. London particularly has strict rules on short-lets. Until recently, for example, people were largely banned from letting out their property for less than three months without specific permission. However, the Deregulation Act, which became law in March 2015, changed the rules so people can let their properties for 90 days or less. But local councils still exert plenty of control, so it’s important to do your research. You’ll also need specialist insurance, as off the shelf homes and content insurance won’t do the job. Instead, you’ll need specialist buildings and contents cover and liability insurance.

How much does it cost, and how much will you make?
Of course, how much you make depends a lot on the size, quality and location of your property, but there are plenty of benchmarks for how much it might cost you. Many estate agents of short-term property management, and, naturally, you’ll pay more for this kind of peace of mind and hands-off management, usually around 30% commission rate. There are also specialist short-let management companies that act as middlemen between guests and tenants searching sites including Airbnb, TripAdvisor and Again, the fee will depend on the type of property and who you want in your property, but most offer quick quotes to help you make a decision. If you’re looking to maximise the use of a room in your house or the whole property, but are away from home sporadically, going direct to Airbnb or similar sites may be the best solution.