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Long-Term Versus Short-Term Rentals: Which Is A Better Source Of Passive Income?

Long-Term Versus Short-Term Rentals: Which Is A Better Source Of Passive Income?

In today's world, if you're not planning for your financial future, you may find it challenging to make ends meet.

May 15th, 2023

In today's world, if you're not planning for your financial future, you may find it challenging to make ends meet. To plan for the future, you either actively generate income or explore passive income streams. If you're looking for income generation through active means, you'll likely have to work hard and put in long hours to see a significant return on your investment.

However, if you're looking for passive income streams, such as rental properties, you can earn money while putting in minimal effort once the property is set up. When it comes to rental properties, there are two main options: long-term rentals and short-term rentals. Each has advantages and disadvantages, and understanding them is essential before deciding.

To learn more about rental properties and management, visit tetonvalleypropertymanagement.com or other sites for valuable insights and guidance. Understanding the differences between long-term and short-term rental options is crucial, whether you're a new or seasoned investor.

This article will closely examine each option's pros and cons and help you decide on a better source of passive income for your investment goals. So, let's dive in and explore the world of long-term versus short-term rentals.

Definition Of Long-Term And Short-Term Rentals

Long-term rentals refer to properties leased for six months or more, typically used as a primary residence. These rentals provide tenants with a stable and consistent living arrangement. They often require less maintenance and management than short-term rentals, making them a hands-off investment for landlords.

On the other hand, short-term rentals refer to properties rented out for a few days to a few weeks, such as vacation rentals or Airbnb listings. These rentals provide tenants with more flexibility and are often used for travel or temporary living arrangements. However, they require more management and maintenance than long-term rentals, making them a more hands-on investment for landlords.

Understanding the differences between long-term and short-term rentals helps landlords decide which option is best for their investment goals. Let's look at the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Advantages Of Long Term Rentals

Long-term rentals have several advantages that make them a popular choice for landlords. Here are some of the benefits of long-term rentals:

1. Lower Vacancy Rates

By signing a long-term lease, tenants commit to staying in the rental property for an extended period, giving landlords peace of mind. With a lower vacancy rate, landlords can avoid the costs and inconvenience of frequently finding new tenants.

Also, they can focus on providing a higher level of service to their current tenants, leading to increased tenant satisfaction and the likelihood of longer-term leases.

2. Reduced Turnover Costs

Long-term rental reduces turnover costs, a significant advantage for landlords and tenants. Turnover costs can add up quickly, including advertising for new tenants, cleaning, repairs, and other associated fees.

Moreover, tenants can save money by not having to move frequently and pay for additional moving costs. Long-term rentals can also foster a sense of community, as tenants are more likely to establish roots and get to know their neighbors.

3. Less Maintenance And Management

Maintenance and management are essential aspects of any rental property, and they can be a significant source of stress for landlords and tenants alike. However, one of the advantages of long-term rentals is that they often require less maintenance and management than short-term rentals. That's because long-term tenants are more likely to treat the property as their own and take better care of it.

4. Stable And Consistent Income

By renting out a property for an extended period, landlords can enjoy a reliable and steady stream of income that is not subject to fluctuations in the rental market. This income can be especially beneficial for those who rely on their rental property, such as retirees or investors.

For example, a retiree who owns a rental property may depend on the rental income as a significant portion of their retirement income.

5. Security Deposit Collection

This deposit is typically a sum of money paid upfront by the tenant, and it serves as a safeguard for the landlord in case of any damages or unpaid rent. Collecting a security deposit gives landlords a sense of security and peace of mind, knowing they have a financial buffer in case of unforeseen circumstances.

Moreover, paying a security deposit can lead to better landlord-tenant relationships by showing the landlord they are a responsible and reliable tenant.

6. Lower Upfront And Ongoing Expenses

Unlike short-term rentals that require a hefty deposit or advanced payment, long-term rentals often require minimal upfront expenses. Also, long-term rentals usually have lower monthly rent payments than short-term rentals, allowing for more budget flexibility.

With a long-term rental, tenants can also avoid additional costs such as cleaning fees or utility charges, which are often included in short-term rentals. In addition, long-term rentals provide the stability of a fixed-term lease, eliminating the need to constantly search for a new place to stay.

7. You Can Screen Tenants

By screening tenants, landlords can carefully evaluate potential tenants and make informed decisions about who they allow to rent their property. They can assess various factors, such as employment history, creditworthiness, and rental history. It can help landlords select responsible tenants who are more likely to pay rent on time and take good care of the property.

Disadvantages Of Long Term Rentals

While long-term rentals can offer several benefits, there are also some disadvantages. Here are a few:

1. Laws And Regulations For Landlords

Landlord laws and regulations can be disadvantageous for long-term rentals in several ways. One of the most significant ways is through eviction laws and procedures. For instance, if a tenant stops paying rent, the landlord may have to go through a lengthy and costly eviction process to remove the tenant from the property. Additionally, some rent control laws limit the amount landlords can charge for rent, which can make it difficult for them to cover their expenses and make a profit.

2. Potential For Bad Tenants

Despite a thorough screening process, there is always the possibility of a tenant who causes problems or fails to uphold their responsibilities. Bad tenants can cause extensive damage to the property, fail to pay rent on time, or even refuse to vacate the premises when the lease has ended.

Evicting a tenant can be a long and expensive legal process, affecting the landlord's mental and financial stability.

3. Limited Rental Rate Increases

In many cases, rental agreements for long-term rentals may be for a fixed period, and rental rate increases during this time may be limited by law or contractual agreements. It can make it difficult for landlords to keep up with rising property taxes, maintenance costs, and other expenses associated with owning and managing rental properties.

4. Higher Tenant Turnover Costs

One of the significant disadvantages of long-term rentals is the higher tenant turnover costs that landlords may incur. When a tenant moves out, landlords must find new tenants and prepare the property for their arrival, which can be time-consuming and costly.

For example, cleaning, repairs, and advertising costs are what landlords may incur to attract new tenants.

Advantages Of Short Term Rentals

Short-term rentals, such as Airbnb listings or vacation rentals, have become increasingly popular. Here are some advantages to short-term rentals:

1. Higher Profits

By renting out a property for short periods, landlords can charge a premium for their properties, resulting in higher profits than traditional long-term rentals. It's particularly true in popular tourist destinations where short-term rentals are in high demand.

Moreover, short-term rentals can allow landlords to fill vacancies quickly, minimizing downtime between tenants and reducing the loss of income.

2. Lower Risk of Tenant Damage

When renting out a property for a shorter duration, tenants have less time to cause significant damage. That's because short-term tenants only have a little time to settle in and make substantial changes to the property.

Also, landlords can include specific clauses prohibiting tenants from altering the property in the rental agreement, which can help prevent damage.

3. Easy Rent Adjustment

With short-term rentals, landlords have the flexibility to adjust their rental rates on a more frequent basis. It allows landlords to respond quickly to changes in demand and supply, ensuring they're charging a fair and competitive price.

Also, landlords can take advantage of seasonal fluctuations in demand by increasing their rental rates during peak seasons and lowering them during off-seasons.

4. Flexibility For Personal Use

Short-term rentals allow landlords to block off periods for their personal use of the property. It can be particularly useful for landlords who want to use the property as a vacation home or for family and friends to visit. With short-term rentals, landlords can earn income from renting out the property while retaining the ability to use it themselves.

5. Easier Maintenance

Unlike long-term rentals, short-term rentals require less wear and tear on the property as tenants stay for a shorter period. It means there's less likelihood of significant damage or maintenance issues. Also, landlords can schedule maintenance and cleaning between tenants more efficiently, as the turnover time is shorter.

Disadvantages Of Short Term Rentals

Here are some of the disadvantages of short-term rentals:

1. Inconsistent Income

The income generated by short-term rentals can be unpredictable and vary significantly from one month to another. Short-term rentals are affected by various factors, including seasonal fluctuations due to sales cycles, changes in demand, and unforeseen events.

This inconsistency can make it difficult for landlords to budget and plan for the future, impacting their ability to secure financing or investment opportunities.

2. Seasonal Vacation

While renting out a property for a short period during peak vacation season may seem lucrative, landlords must also consider the risk of vacancies during off-season months. For instance, a beachfront property may be in high demand during the summer and command premium rental rates.

However, come winter, the demand for such properties may drop significantly, leaving landlords with empty properties and no income.

3. Huge Operating Expenses

Operating costs like maintenance, utilities, and cleaning can add up quickly for landlords of short-term rentals, leading to substantial operating expenses. Short-term rentals require frequent turnovers, which means more cleaning, restocking, and upkeep.

Also, landlords may have to pay for professional cleaning services to ensure the property is always pristine for new tenants.

The Deciding Factor

To decide which is a better source of passive income between long and short-term rentals, here is what to watch out for:

1. The Location

Short-term rentals may be more lucrative if the property is located in an area with a high demand for vacation rentals, such as a beach or ski resort. On the other hand, if the property is situated in an area with a steady demand for housing, long-term rentals may be a more stable source of income.

2. Property Management

Short-term rentals typically require more hands-on management, such as cleaning and booking management, which can be time-consuming and costly. Long-term rentals require less management and may be a better option for landlords who prefer a more passive income stream.

3. Personal Preferences

Personal preferences, such as the level of involvement in the rental process, desired income level, and financial goals, can also influence the decision between long and short-term rentals. Moreover, some landlords may prefer the flexibility and higher income potential of short-term rentals, while others may value the stability and predictability of long-term rentals.


The choice of which rental option depends on several factors, including the property's location, personal preferences, and property management requirements. While short-term rentals may offer higher income potential, they require more hands-on management and are subject to seasonal fluctuations. On the other hand, long-term rentals offer more stability and predictability in rental income but may provide a different level of flexibility and higher earning potential. Above all, landlords must carefully consider these factors and weigh the pros and cons of each option to make an informed decision about which type of rental is the better source of passive income for their specific circumstances.

Laura Bartlett

Laura Bartlett

Northern girl Laura is the epitome of a true entrepreneur. Laura’s spirit for adventure and passion for people blaze through House of Coco. She founded House of Coco in 2014 and has grown it in to an internationally recognised brand whilst having a lot of fun along the way. Travel is in her DNA and she is a true visionary and a global citizen.