What’s the Difference Between Short, Medium & Long Term Lettings or Rentals?

We explain some of the major differences between short term and long term letting

We throw the terms short, mid and long term letting around quite a lot, describing how we fill your properties with a mix of tenants. Mixing up letting periods is one way of maximising rents and also keeping rent rolling. Sticking to one particular letting option can create issues, especially where legislation and local law dictates specific limits.

Which letting type is right for me?

Making the decision to choose one letting type over another can depend on many things:

  • Where your property is located

  • The type of property you own

  • The rental market in your area – is it residential, business or tourist-based?

  • The rental income you want to achieve

  • The amount of work you’re prepared to do

  • Your investment goals

So, without further ado, let’s jump straight in and answer your questions.

What is a long term let?

A long-term let is considered a residential rental for a home. In many European countries, renting property is the norm and owning a property is far less popular. For others, getting onto the property ladder and buying your own house or apartment is seen to be much more important.

How long is a long term let?

Long term lettings carry a rental contract of over 6 months or a year. Typically, and again, this will vary from country to country and contract to contract, there will be a renewable rolling agreement where tenants are expected to remain in a property for several years.

Advantages of long term lets

Long term lets offer a steady income

Although the rental income doesn’t provide the same high yields as short-term letting can, it provides a steady income, and from less work. In most cases, a landlord will collect their monthly or weekly payments with few outgoings and little effort.

Minimum effort

There’s very little work associated with long-term rentals. Tenants take care of their own bills and often, a large part of the upkeep of the property. The only time the landlord needs to step in is to carry out maintenance or repairs.

Disadvantages of long term letting

Long term lets are less flexible

It may be more difficult to remove a problem tenant when the letting type is over a long term.

A good contract includes clauses to help with predictable problems. Some of the most common issues for landlords are those associated with problem tenants, and can soon lead to loss of rent. Arbitration can take far longer than expected, as can organising eviction, resulting in large losses and costs that are rarely recovered.

Lower yields

A long-term rental taps into different markets than short-term options. Residential rent will be much lower than tourist accommodation. However, due to the increased effort required and greater expenses of a short-term let, residential rentals appear much safer and still provide a profitable income.



What is a short term let?

Short-term lets provide a temporary home or visitor’s accommodation. Depending on the length of stay, this is often utilised by tourists and visitors to other towns, cities and countries.

How long is a short term let?

Short-term lets are anything shorter than 6 months. However, since the rise in popularity of letting sites such as Airbnb, VRBO, Booking.com, Expedia and many, many more, a short term let is typically associated with stays of a couple of days to a couple of weeks.

Advantages of short term letting

Higher yields

The big advantage to short-term letting is the higher rents landlords can charge. More tourists are utilising the wealth of digital platforms to stay in a property offering the true character of the location they’re visiting. The rents they can achieve in such situations are far higher than typical long-term lets — in most cases, around 30% higher.

Who wouldn’t prefer a private apartment for their holiday as opposed to often-soulless hotel rooms? Now that the ease of booking is simpler than ever, it’s becoming nearer the norm than traditional tourism stay options.

Constantly changing tenants

You might suffer the occasional poor tenant, but with a short term scheme, you won’t be stuck with them for long. Your tenants will change almost every week or at the worst each month. That’s one major hassle when renting out your property that comes off the table immediately.

Disadvantages of short term letting

Unpredictable market

Due to the high number of tenants required to supply a full year’s worth of rent, there are fewer guarantees that you will reach your rental target. Void periods and higher costs will result in your higher rent quickly depleting.

Higher costs

If you’re carrying out your own short let management, then you’ll need to pay for all the utilities, cleaning, laundry, TV license, Internet and more. You’ll also have to pay for the advertising and marketing of your property. The costs add up quickly. A savvy investor needs to weigh all of these against the security and simplicity of a long term option if they’re going to take advantage of the higher yields and rent rates.

Short-term letting demands much more work

There is so much more work involved in short term letting. Marketing, advertising, cleaning, upkeep, decorating, maintenance, the meet and greet of guests, problem-solving, laundry — all of this can quickly add up to being a full-time job. Have you got the time and energy to carry out all of these roles?

What is medium term letting?

Mid-term or medium-term lets are those that sit between the short and long term options.

It was once a fairly grey area, but more recently the term has been utilised to sit between the shorter holiday lets of a couple of weeks to a month, and long term residential rentals that last years.

How long are medium term lets?

Medium term lets usually last for a couple of months.

Typical usage for mid-term lets:

  • Short placement workers who require a home for the duration of a contract or project

  • Students on short courses or work experience

  • Consultants working on industry projects

  • Expats trial-running a possible residential location

  • Those requiring accommodation while their home undergoes work, maintenance or expansion

Medium-term lets offer similar flexible solutions as short term lets, yet because of the longer periods of booking, can also offer reduced rates for the tenants.

Bridging the Airbnb short term gap

There is growing legislation among many of the major European cities to limit the amount of night’s stay each year for short term letting. The operation supplied via short-term letting platforms, mainly Airbnb, has severely impacted tourist accommodation in many cities, as it’s easier than ever to make money from tourism lets.

The new rules protect existing tourism accommodation venues and keep a more cultural mix of resident and visitor. The majority of cities working to combat the problem have instigated a 90-day limit on short stay lets each year. If a landlord wants to go above the limit, they must apply for a special license or a change in usage and planning.

Mixing short and medium term rentals is one way that landlords can work around the issue, keeping properties full year-round, while still maximising their rental income.

UpperKey – taking the problem out of your hands

Every one of our clients that chooses UpperKey to manage their property can stop worrying about which of the letting types and rental periods is the right one for them.

Not only do we guarantee your rent every single month, but we also match our guests to your property. We choose the most appropriate and high-quality tenants while maximising rents.

All that and without any work involved for you—it’s the perfect solution for everyone.